After a Storm

Last updated Sep. 14, 2017 - 1:55 pm

Once the storm has passed through the area, there are many important steps to aid in community response and recovery:

  • Check the City of Raleigh’s website and the local news coverage for the latest updates.
  • Stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding even after the hurricane or tropical storm has ended.
  • Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges. Stay off the streets. If you must go out watch for fallen objects; downed electrical wires; and weakened walls, bridges, roads, and sidewalks.
  • Inspect your home for damage. Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance purposes. Walk carefully around the outside your home and check for loose power lines, gas leaks, and structural damage before entering.
  • Use battery-powered flashlights in the dark. Do NOT use candles.
  • If you evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe.
  • Check refrigerated food for spoilage. If in doubt, throw it out. Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are sure it’s not contaminated.
  • Wear protective clothing and be cautious when cleaning up to avoid injury.
  • 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 has shut off.
  • Stay tuned to local radio for information.
  • Help injured or trapped persons.
  • Give first aid where appropriate.
  • Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Call for help.
  • Return home only after authorities advise that it is safe to do so.
  • Avoid loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company, police, or fire department.
  • Enter your home with caution. Beware of snakes, insects, and animals driven to higher ground by flood water.
  • Open windows and doors to ventilate and dry your home.
  • Check refrigerated foods for spoilage.
  • Take pictures of the damage, both to the house and its contents for insurance claims.
  • Drive only if absolutely necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges.
  • Use telephone only for emergency calls.

Keep your family together and wait for emergency personnel to arrive. Carefully render aid to those who are injured. Stay away from power lines and puddles with wires in them; they may still be carrying electricity! Watch your step to avoid broken glass, nails, and other sharp objects. Stay out of any heavily damaged houses or buildings; they could collapse at any time. Do not use matches or lighters, in case of leaking natural gas pipes or fuel tanks nearby. Remain calm and alert, and listen for information and instructions from emergency crews or local officials.

(information from the NOAA Storm Prediction Center)

Inspecting Utilities In A Damaged Home

  • Check for gas leaks – If you smell gas or hear blowing or a hissing noise, open a window and quickly leave the building. Call 911 and turn off the gas at the outside main valve if possible. Call the gas company from a neighbor's home. If you turn off the gas for any reason, it must be turned back on by a professional.
  • Look for electrical system damage – If you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell hot insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If you have to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician first.
  • Check for sewage and water lines damage – If you suspect sewage lines are damaged avoid using the toilets and call a plumber. If water pipes are damaged, contact the water company and avoid the water from the tap. You can obtain safe water by melting ice cubes.

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