Staying healthy and safe

10 health and safety tips

  • Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are sure it’s not contaminated.
  • If your refrigator lost power for more than 4 hours, toss perishable foods. Reference this handy guide from to help you determine what’s safe to keep.
  • Turn off or disconnect any appliances — such as stoves — equipment and electronics that you were using when the power went out. When power comes back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment.
  • Keep away from loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to your local utility company.
  • Walk carefully around the outside of your home and check for loose power lines, gas leaks and structural damage. Take pictures of any damage.
  • Stay out of any building if you smell gas, if floodwaters remain around the building, or your home was damaged by fire and the authorities have not declared it safe.
  • Use battery-powered flashlights in the dark. Do NOT use candles.
  • Watch your pets closely and keep them under your direct control.
  • Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes. Use a stick to poke through debris.
  • NEVER use a generator inside homes, garages, crawlspaces, sheds, or similar areas, even when using fans or opening doors and windows for ventilation. Deadly levels of carbon monoxide can quickly build up in these areas and can linger for hours, even after the generator is turned off.

Safety during recovery

Mental health

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