Why Now?
Friday, September 23, 2005
  After The Storm
A few thoughts about venturing out after the storm is passed. If there is no immediate need, wait for daylight. Many things have probably been rearranged outside and you probably haven't been sleeping well, so wait until you are rested and there is good light before going outside.

Wear heavy boots, sturdy pants, a long sleeved shirt, and work gloves. If you have access to a hard hat, wear it. You should use a mosquito repellant before going outside and take a stout stick with you.

Proceed cautiously and scan your surroundings, including what's overhead. Stuff gets blown around, ends up in trees or on roofs, and may drop. Large limbs may have broken, but are caught in lower limbs. There are a lot of things that might fall on you after the storm, so you need to look for them.

There are a lot of creatures that don't like getting wet, so they will climb up on to things to avoid the water, or warm up. That's the reason for the stout stick. There's not much point in just killing them, but with a six-foot closet rod you could encourage them to seek other accommodations at minimal risk.

A dry wooden stick may be necessary if you notice that the electric lines are no longer connected to your house. Don't assume that the power is off. If you can locate the ends mark the area in some way and put a sign up on the power pole on the street indicating that there are down lines. The power company will have crews checking on damage, and while they probably won't reattach them to your house immediately, they can handle the lines safely and get them out of your yard. Treat any broken wire as high voltage electrical unless you know that it isn't.

You are surveying damage, but should concentrate on things that might cause further damage or injury if not dealt with immediately. If something is damaged to the point of instability you might want to push over in a convenient direction, as in not on your car or house. If you have roof damage you need to think about getting a tarp or plastic sheeting to cover the damage to prevent further leaking until permanent repairs.

Take a realistic look at your experience and capability before deciding to do something yourself, and hold off on anything dangerous until medical assistance is available.

Pace yourself until the power is back on and you have access to air conditioning. Drink water and rest frequently. If you have finished your yard, help your neighbors. If you have older people in your area, check on them.


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