Publications/Press Releases

Important Safety Measures in Response to Tornado Damage

       April 29, 2014, 10:25 pm

In the aftermath of a storm such as a tornado, and as we prepare for any future natural disasters, it is important to remember the safety tips listed below.

Prior to an event:

  • Update your emergency supply kits and make sure you have enough supplies for at least 72 hours.
  • Know where your emergency supply kit is located.
  • Review your family's disaster plan, which should include your safe zones, escape routes, and meeting locations, along with your communication plan.

During an event:

  • Continue to monitor your battery-operated radio or television for emergency information.
  • Cooperate fully with public safety and emergency management officials.

After an event:

  • In general, if you suspect any damage to your home, shut off electrical power, natural gas, and propane tanks to avoid fire, electrocution, or explosions.  Report any outages or potential leaks to emergency officials.
  • Use battery-powered lanterns, if possible, rather than candles to light homes without electrical power, to avoid the risk of fire danger.
  • Do not go near or touch downed power lines or objects in contact with downed lines. Report electrical hazards to local emergency officials and the utility company.
  • Care should be taken when entering any structure that has been damaged.
  • Be aware of dangers from exposed nails and/or broken glass.
  • Never use generators, pressure washers, grills, camp stoves, or other gasoline, propane, natural gas, or charcoal-burning devices inside your home, basement, garage, or camper—or even outside near an open window, door, or vent.  Carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless gas that can cause sudden illness and death if you breathe it, can build up in your home, garage, or camper and poison the people and animals inside.  Seek prompt medical attention if you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning and are feeling dizzy, light-headed, or nauseated.
  • Respond to requests for volunteer assistance by police, fire fighters, emergency management, and relief organizations, however, do not go into damaged areas unless assistance has been requested.

Safety during clean up should include:

  • Wear sturdy shoes or boots, long sleeves, and gloves.
  • Learn proper safety procedures and operating instructions before operating any gas-powered or electric-powered saws or tools.
  • Attend to any cuts or puncture wounds immediately, especially those that have been exposed to storm debris.
  • Ensure your tetanus immunization is up-to-date before you continue to work on your property. Consult your healthcare provider or call the local health department at 338-4400 (Pasquotank), 426-2100 (Perquimans), and/or 482-6003 (Chowan).

Mosquito-Borne Disease Prevention:

  • Protect against mosquito bites by wearing long sleeves, long pants, and light-colored clothing. 
  • Use insect repellant with the smallest percentage of DEET necessary for the length of time you are exposed to mosquitoes, but no more than 50 percent for adults and 30 percent for children under 12. 
  • Turn over or remove containers in your yard where water collects, such as toys, plant trays, tires and buckets.

Food Safety Precautions:

  • Perishable foods including meats, dairy products and eggs that haven't been refrigerated for more than two hours should be discarded because they are no longer safe to consume.
  • Foods that have been contaminated by flooding should also be discarded.
  • Be particularly careful to thoroughly disinfect surfaces that may come in contact with food, such as counter tops, pantry shelves, pots and pans, dishes and inside refrigerators, etc.

A disaster can take a toll on your health – both physically and mentally.  It is important to take care of yourself.  Consider these health reminders following any disaster situation:

  • Set priorities for cleanup tasks and pace the work.
  • Avoid physical exhaustion.
  • Resume a normal sleep schedule as quickly as possible.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Use sunscreen while outdoors to prevent sunburn.  SPF 50 should always been used.
  • Be alert to emotional exhaustion or strain.
  • Seek care and support can help when you are feeling stressed, anxious, sad, mad, or guilty.  It is important to talk with someone you trust as soon as possible.
  • Stay in touch with other people-family, friends. Be around people who are positive and caring.
  • Stay active—go for a walk, take care of your health.
  • Keep busy—help others in your community with clean-up and repairs.

  Information compiled is from the following sources:  FEMA, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Red Cross.