Safety is the primary issue in any disaster. Continue to listen to your local radio and television station, if possible, for updated information on conditions in your area. There may be power outages, and roads may be blocked.
- Use your phone only for emergency calls. Telephone lines may be flooded with calls in disaster situations with those looking for family and friends. Keep the lines open for emergencies.
- If your home has been damaged, think safety first. Contact 911 by cell phone if you or someone in your home is trapped.
- See if your neighbors may need help, especially those that are elderly, have large families, and people with disabilities. Call for emergency assistance if you see or hear someone that may be trapped. Give first aid where needed. Do not move a seriously injured person unless they are in immediate danger of further injury from falling debris, fire, flooding, etc.
- If you see fallen power lines or smell gas from broken gas lines, call the utility company or your local fire department immediately to get them turned off. These can be potential hazards and could create further injury and fires. If you are trapped in your car with a fallen power line, DO NOT EXIT THE VEHICLE, you could get electrocuted if the lines are still live. Wait for emergency responders and follow their instructions.
- Stay out of damaged buildings. Tornados can cause all kinds damage to a building you may not see directly. An unsteady building can collapse and debris from buildings inside and out can continue to fall creating further hazards. If you must enter a damaged building, make sure you have a flashlight, sturdy shoes and let someone know where you are going. Never use candles, lighters or any open flame at anytime. Always use a flashlight as there can be leaking gas lines.
- Wait for authorities to give word on when it’s ok to return to your home or business. Your presence otherwise can hamper rescue efforts and other emergency operations.
- Contact your insurance company as soon as possible. Take pictures of the damage of both building and contents for your insurance adjuster. Ask your insurance company for assistance when assessing the damage, they may have a list of trusted contractors.
Make sure you and your family find a safe place to stay if your home has been damaged.