After Hurricane Florence has made its way through the area and left behind the flooding, wind damage and other traces, there’s still plenty of things to keep in mind.
Several local agencies, the American Red Cross and the Dunn Police Department, as well as state agencies, have offered up a list of things to keep in mind when you’re starting you post-storm recovery.
The Dunn Police Department and Chief Chuck West, suggest residents stay tuned to local media outlets, such as radio or television stations for important announcements. Among the resources Chief West suggest residents utilize are WCKB and WPYB radio stations, the City of Dunn Police Department Facebook page, ReadyNC.gov and The Daily Record.
He also stresses using the 911 system only for emergency calls. The system will be extremely busy and non-emergency calls only tie up operators and dispatchers from handling those calls.
For non-emergency calls, Dunn residents can contact Dunn Police at 910-892-2399.
Several common sense guidelines include avoid driving as roads may be blocked due to power lines being downed or trees blocking roadways.
When it comes to power lines, common sense also applies. Avoid loose hanging lines, call and report them if possible. He also urges residents to avoid sightseeing trips and to not enter storm ravaged areas unnecessarily.
If you’re in an area where the electricity has yet to be restored and you’ve fired up your generator, Chief West has a simple reminder.
“Never use a generator in an enclosed space,” he said. “Carbon monoxide can build up faster than it can be ventilated and it can linger long after the generator has been shut off.”
Another caveat, one that may not surface until days after the storm, use common sense and caution when hiring someone to clean up or repair your property.
If repairs are needed to your home or business, be weary of dishonest contractors. Contact one of the local law enforcement agencies if you suspect fraud.
State officials also encourage residents to keep other things in mind.
First and foremost, return home only when officials say it is safe. The possibility exists for many hazards in the immediate aftermath and officials are working diligently to make sure areas are accessible with as little danger as possible.
Stay away from flood waters both in your vehicle and on your property. They often contain debris and other contaminants that could cause injury or illness. Never drive through flood waters, it takes only a few inches of rushing water to lift a vehicle off the ground and carry it downstream and avoid washed out bridges, swollen streams and overflowing rivers.
When you do return home, there are several things to keep in mind and do to protect yourself as well.
State officials suggest taking photos to record your damage before you clean up and begin repairs. They also recommend you inspect utilities such as breaker and fuse boxes, for damage and check gas lines for leaks.
Also check on the condition of refrigerated food. If you have any doubts, toss it out and while you are doing an initial inspection of your home remember to wear protective clothing and be cautious while you are inspecting and cleaning.
Many times residents will begin the clean up as soon as they can, even though power may not be restored and are forced to use alternative lighting methods.
State officials stress using battery-powered flashlights or lanterns. Do not use candles.
Lastly, officials want you to be aware of the weather around you and keep an eye for additional rain and flooding.
One last thing, if you become separated from family members and are not in contact with them, call the American Red Cross at 1-800-733-2767 or visit safeandwell.org.