How to Prepare for and Protect Your Health After a Severe Storm

Currently, our nation is focused on overcoming the many challenges presented by COVID-19. Unfortunately, severe spring and summer weather can add to already heightened feelings of uncertainty and concern. Having to deal with the added stress of thunderstorms, lightning, tornadoes, and floods can be overwhelming. CDC has compiled tips and tools that can be used to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your home.

Preparing for Severe WeatherSpring weather can be unpredictable. When severe weather hits unexpectedly, the risk of injury and weather-related death increases, so planning makes sense. Prepare for storms, floods, and tornadoes as if you know in advance that they are coming.
Get yourself and your family ready.

• Stay informed. Learn about your community’s emergency plans, warning signals, evacuation routes, and locations of emergency shelters.
• Create an emergency supply kit.
• Consider the additional needs that children may have during emergencies.
• Be prepared to take shelter or evacuate. Listen to directions from local authorities and never ignore an evacuation order.

After a DisasterAfter a storm or other natural disaster, the wreckage left behind poses additional risks. The storm might be over, but that doesn’t mean the danger is. Keep yourself and your loved ones safe after the storm by following our safety tips.

Prevent illness after a disaster.
• Clean up, disinfect, and practice good hygiene to avoid illness from bacteria, viruses, mold, and mildew.
• Get medical care if you are injured, sick, or having trouble coping with stress.
• To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, only use generators, pressure washers, grills, camp stoves, or other gasoline, propane, natural gas, or charcoal-burning devices outside and away from open windows, doors, and air vents.
• Stay cool and drink plenty of fluids to prevent heat-related illness.

Prevent injury after a disaster.
• To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, only use generators, pressure washers, grills, camp stoves, or other gasoline, propane, natural gas, or charcoal-burning devices outside and away from open windows, doors, and air vents.
• Follow chain saw safety rules and use chain saws according to manufacturer instructions.
• Avoid wild or stray animals.
• Avoid the use of electric tools or appliances while standing in water.
• Drive safely, always wear your seatbelt, don’t drink and drive, and don’t drive when sleepy.

Clean up safely after a disaster. 
• Stay away from any damaged buildings or structures until a building inspector or other government authority has had a chance to examine it and certify that it’s safe.
• If flood or storm water has entered your home, clean up and dry your home quickly after the storm or flood ends; within 24 to 48 hours if possible.
• NEVER turn power on or off yourself or use an electric tool or appliance while standing in water.
• Wear the right safety gear for the job. Different jobs will require different safety gear.