Patrap's WunderBlog

After the Storm....

By: Patrap, 5:03 PM GMT on March 29, 2007

65 After The Storm Returning home after a hurricane can be both physically and mentally challenging. Above all, use caution. Check for injuries. Do not attempt to move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of death or further injury. If you must move an unconscious person, first stabilize the neck and back, then call for help immediately. Stay informed with our solar powered and hand-crank generator radio and flashlight to listen for emergency updates and to to inspect your damaged home.

BEFORE YOU ENTER YOUR HOME: Assess the damage by carefully walking around the outside and check for loose power lines, gas leaks, and structural damage. If you have any doubts about safety, have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before entering.

DO NOT ENTER IF: You smell gas, floodwaters remain around the building, and/or your home was damaged by fire and the authorities have not declared it safe.

GOING INSIDE YOUR HOME: When you go inside your home, there are certain things you should and should not do. Enter the home carefully and check for damage. Be aware of loose boards and slippery floors. The following items are other things to check inside your home:

* Natural gas - If you smell gas or hear a hissing or blowing sound, open a window and leave immediately. Turn off the main gas valve from the outside, if you can. If possible call the gas company from a neighbor’s residence.
* Sparks, broken or frayed wires - Check the electrical system unless you are wet, standing in water, or unsure of your safety. If possible, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If the situation is unsafe, leave the building and call for help. Do not turn on the lights until you are sure they’re safe to use. You may want to have an electrician inspect your wiring.
* Roof, foundation, and chimney cracks - If it looks like the building may collapse, leave immediately.
* Appliances - If appliances are wet, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. Then, unplug appliances and let them dry out. Have appliances checked by a professional before using them again.
* Water and sewage systems - If pipes are damaged, turn off the main water valve. Check with local authorities before using any water; the water could be contaminated. Pump out wells and have the water tested by authorities before drinking. Do not flush toilets until you know that sewage lines are intact.
* Food and other supplies - Throw out all food and other supplies that you suspect may have become contaminated or come in to contact with floodwater.
* Your basement - If your basement has flooded, pump it out gradually (about one third of the water per day) to avoid damage. The walls may collapse and the floor may buckle if the basement is pumped out while the surrounding ground is still waterlogged.
* Open cabinets - Be alert for objects that may fall.
* Clean up household chemical spills - Disinfect items that may have been contaminated by raw sewage, bacteria, or chemicals. Also clean salvageable items.
* Call your insurance agent - Take pictures of damages. Keep good records of repair and cleaning costs
Seeking Assistance after a Hurricane

SEEKING DISASTER ASSISTANCE: Throughout the recovery period, it is important to monitor local radio or television reports and other media sources for information about where to get emergency housing, food, first aid, clothing, and financial assistance. The following section provides general information about the kinds of assistance that may be available.

DIRECT ASSISTANCE: Direct assistance to individuals and families may come from any number of organizations, including: the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and other volunteer organizations. These organizations provide food, shelter, supplies and assist in clean-up efforts.

THE FEDERAL ROLE: In the most severe disasters, the federal government is also called in to help individuals and families with temporary housing, counseling (for post-disaster trauma), low-interest loans and grants, and other assistance. The federal government also has programs that help small businesses and farmers.

Most federal assistance becomes available when the President of the United States declares a “Major Disaster” for the affected area at the request of a state governor. FEMA will provide information through the media and community outreach about federal assistance and how to apply.

Coping after a Hurricane Everyone who sees or experiences a hurricane is affected by it in some way. It is normal to feel anxious about your own safety and that of your family and close friends. Profound sadness, grief, and anger are normal reactions to an abnormal event. Acknowledging your feelings helps you recover. Focusing on your strengths and abilities helps you heal. Accepting help from community programs and resources is healthy. Everyone has different needs and different ways of coping. It is common to want to strike back at people who have caused great pain. Children and older adults are of special concern in the aftermath of disasters. Even individuals who experience a disaster “second hand” through exposure to extensive media coverage can be affected.

Contact local faith-based organizations, voluntary agencies, or professional counselors for counseling. Additionally, FEMA and state and local governments of the affected area may provide crisis counseling assistance.

Minimize this emotional and traumatic experience by being prepared, not scared and therefore you and your family will stay in control and survive a major hurricane.

SIGNS OF HURRICANE RELATED STRESS:

* Difficulty communicating thoughts.
* Difficulty sleeping.
* Difficulty maintaining balance in their lives.
* Low threshold of frustration.
* Increased use of drugs/alcohol.
* Limited attention span.
* Poor work performance.
* Headaches/stomach problems.
* Tunnel vision/muffled hearing.
* Colds or flu-like symptoms.
* Disorientation or confusion.
* Difficulty concentrating.
* Reluctance to leave home.
* Depression, sadness.
* Feelings of hopelessness.
* Mood-swings and easy bouts of crying.
* Overwhelming guilt and self-doubt.
* Fear of crowds, strangers, or being alone.

EASING HURRICANE RELATED STRESS:

* Talk with someone about your feelings - anger, sorrow, and other emotions - even though it may be difficult.
* Seek help from professional counselors who deal with post-disaster stress.
* Do not hold yourself responsible for the disastrous event or be frustrated because you feel you cannot help directly in the rescue work.
* Take steps to promote your own physical and emotional healing by healthy eating, rest, exercise, relaxation, and meditation.
* Maintain a normal family and daily routine, limiting demanding responsibilities on yourself and your family.
* Spend time with family and friends.
* Participate in memorials.
* Use existing support groups of family, friends, and religious institutions.
* Ensure you are ready for future events by restocking your disaster supplies kits and updating your family disaster plan.

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Hale-Bopp 10 years later

By: Patrap, 10:55 AM GMT on March 28, 2007

4


Comet Hale-Bopp
THE GREAT COMET OF 1997. Above, the bright head of comet Hale-Bopp, called the coma, is pointed towards the Sun. The coma is composed of dust and gas, masking the solid nucleus of the comet made up of rock, dust and ice. Photo taken by Jim Young at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratories Table Mountain Observatory in March 1997.
The most spectacular celestial viewing event of 1997 was the arrival of comet Hale-Bopp in the northern hemisphere. Its closest approach to Earth was on March 22nd, and its closest approach to the Sun (when it was at its brightest) was on April 1st—not to return to Earth again until the year 4397. The comet, designated C/1995 O1, was discovered independently on July 23, 1995, by Alan Hale, New Mexico, and Thomas Bopp, Arizona. It was the farthest comet ever discovered by amateurs, and appeared 1,000 times brighter than comet Halley did at the same distance.

An unprecedented year-long study was made of Hale-Bopp by two NASA observatories—the Hubble Space Telescope and the International Ultraviolet Explorer. Astronomers estimated that it had a monstrous nucleus about 19 to 25 mi in diameter. The average comet is thought to have a nucleus of about three miles in diameter, or even smaller. By comparison, the comet or asteroid that struck Earth 65 million years ago, possibly causing the extinction of the dinosaurs, was probably six to nine miles across.

Scientists were surprised to find that the different ices in its complex nucleus seemed to be isolated from each other. They reported seeing unexpectedly brief and intense bursts of activity from the nucleus during the monitoring period, suggesting that the nucleus must be an incredibly dynamic place. Astronomers using spectroscopic instruments were also amazed to discover that the comet had a thin, third tail composed of sodium atoms, a type never seen before.Below are the pictures I took April 7th 1997 near Lake Ponchatrain. The Camera used was a Canon AE-1 with 1000 speed Kodak Royal Gold film on tripod.Exposure times were between 25-35 seconds
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Sat on the Levee and Moaned...

By: Patrap, 8:42 PM GMT on March 25, 2007

7
If it keeps on rainin', levee's goin' to break
If it keeps on rainin', levee's goin' to break
And the water gonna come in, have no place to stay

Well all last night I sat on the levee and moan
Well all last night I sat on the levee and moan
Thinkin' 'bout my baby and my happy home

If it keeps on rainin', levee's goin' to break
If it keeps on rainin', levee's goin' to break
And all these people have no place to stay

Now look here mama what am I to do
Now look here mama what am I to do
I ain't got nobody to tell my troubles to

I works on the levee mama both night and day
I works on the levee mama both night and day
I ain't got nobody, keep the water away

Oh cryin' won't help you, prayin' won't do no good
Oh cryin' won't help you, prayin' won't do no good
When the levee breaks, mama, you got to lose

I works on the levee, mama both night and day
I works on the levee, mama both night and day
I works so hard, to keep the water away

I had a woman, she wouldn't do for me
I had a woman, she wouldn't do for me
I'm goin' back to my used to be

I's a mean old levee, cause me to weep and moan
I's a mean old levee, cause me to weep and moan
Gonna leave my baby, and my happy home6 5 After The Storm Returning home after a hurricane can be both physically and mentally challenging. Above all, use caution. Check for injuries. Do not attempt to move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of death or further injury. If you must move an unconscious person, first stabilize the neck and back, then call for help immediately. Stay informed with our solar powered and hand-crank generator radio and flashlight to listen for emergency updates and to to inspect your damaged home.

BEFORE YOU ENTER YOUR HOME: Assess the damage by carefully walking around the outside and check for loose power lines, gas leaks, and structural damage. If you have any doubts about safety, have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before entering.

DO NOT ENTER IF: You smell gas, floodwaters remain around the building, and/or your home was damaged by fire and the authorities have not declared it safe.

GOING INSIDE YOUR HOME: When you go inside your home, there are certain things you should and should not do. Enter the home carefully and check for damage. Be aware of loose boards and slippery floors. The following items are other things to check inside your home:

* Natural gas - If you smell gas or hear a hissing or blowing sound, open a window and leave immediately. Turn off the main gas valve from the outside, if you can. If possible call the gas company from a neighbor’s residence.
* Sparks, broken or frayed wires - Check the electrical system unless you are wet, standing in water, or unsure of your safety. If possible, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If the situation is unsafe, leave the building and call for help. Do not turn on the lights until you are sure they’re safe to use. You may want to have an electrician inspect your wiring.
* Roof, foundation, and chimney cracks - If it looks like the building may collapse, leave immediately.
* Appliances - If appliances are wet, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. Then, unplug appliances and let them dry out. Have appliances checked by a professional before using them again.
* Water and sewage systems - If pipes are damaged, turn off the main water valve. Check with local authorities before using any water; the water could be contaminated. Pump out wells and have the water tested by authorities before drinking. Do not flush toilets until you know that sewage lines are intact.
* Food and other supplies - Throw out all food and other supplies that you suspect may have become contaminated or come in to contact with floodwater.
* Your basement - If your basement has flooded, pump it out gradually (about one third of the water per day) to avoid damage. The walls may collapse and the floor may buckle if the basement is pumped out while the surrounding ground is still waterlogged.
* Open cabinets - Be alert for objects that may fall.
* Clean up household chemical spills - Disinfect items that may have been contaminated by raw sewage, bacteria, or chemicals. Also clean salvageable items.
* Call your insurance agent - Take pictures of damages. Keep good records of repair and cleaning costs
Seeking Assistance after a Hurricane

SEEKING DISASTER ASSISTANCE: Throughout the recovery period, it is important to monitor local radio or television reports and other media sources for information about where to get emergency housing, food, first aid, clothing, and financial assistance. The following section provides general information about the kinds of assistance that may be available.

DIRECT ASSISTANCE: Direct assistance to individuals and families may come from any number of organizations, including: the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and other volunteer organizations. These organizations provide food, shelter, supplies and assist in clean-up efforts.

THE FEDERAL ROLE: In the most severe disasters, the federal government is also called in to help individuals and families with temporary housing, counseling (for post-disaster trauma), low-interest loans and grants, and other assistance. The federal government also has programs that help small businesses and farmers.

Most federal assistance becomes available when the President of the United States declares a “Major Disaster” for the affected area at the request of a state governor. FEMA will provide information through the media and community outreach about federal assistance and how to apply.

Coping after a Hurricane Everyone who sees or experiences a hurricane is affected by it in some way. It is normal to feel anxious about your own safety and that of your family and close friends. Profound sadness, grief, and anger are normal reactions to an abnormal event. Acknowledging your feelings helps you recover. Focusing on your strengths and abilities helps you heal. Accepting help from community programs and resources is healthy. Everyone has different needs and different ways of coping. It is common to want to strike back at people who have caused great pain. Children and older adults are of special concern in the aftermath of disasters. Even individuals who experience a disaster “second hand” through exposure to extensive media coverage can be affected.

Contact local faith-based organizations, voluntary agencies, or professional counselors for counseling. Additionally, FEMA and state and local governments of the affected area may provide crisis counseling assistance.

Minimize this emotional and traumatic experience by being prepared, not scared and therefore you and your family will stay in control and survive a major hurricane.

SIGNS OF HURRICANE RELATED STRESS:

* Difficulty communicating thoughts.
* Difficulty sleeping.
* Difficulty maintaining balance in their lives.
* Low threshold of frustration.
* Increased use of drugs/alcohol.
* Limited attention span.
* Poor work performance.
* Headaches/stomach problems.
* Tunnel vision/muffled hearing.
* Colds or flu-like symptoms.
* Disorientation or confusion.
* Difficulty concentrating.
* Reluctance to leave home.
* Depression, sadness.
* Feelings of hopelessness.
* Mood-swings and easy bouts of crying.
* Overwhelming guilt and self-doubt.
* Fear of crowds, strangers, or being alone.

EASING HURRICANE RELATED STRESS:

* Talk with someone about your feelings - anger, sorrow, and other emotions - even though it may be difficult.
* Seek help from professional counselors who deal with post-disaster stress.
* Do not hold yourself responsible for the disastrous event or be frustrated because you feel you cannot help directly in the rescue work.
* Take steps to promote your own physical and emotional healing by healthy eating, rest, exercise, relaxation, and meditation.
* Maintain a normal family and daily routine, limiting demanding responsibilities on yourself and your family.
* Spend time with family and friends.
* Participate in memorials.
* Use existing support groups of family, friends, and religious institutions.
* Ensure you are ready for future events by restocking your disaster supplies kits and updating your family disaster plan.

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Create your own visitor map!57Hurricane Cindy July 6 2005 9 Hurricane Katrina August 29,2005 8

Preps for Hurricane Season, 3

By: Patrap, 6:47 PM GMT on March 21, 2007

5 After the Storm
Returning home after a hurricane can be both physically and mentally challenging. Above all, use caution. Check for injuries. Do not attempt to move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of death or further injury. If you must move an unconscious person, first stabilize the neck and back, then call for help immediately. Stay informed with our solar powered and hand-crank generator radio and flashlight to listen for emergency updates and to to inspect your damaged home.

BEFORE YOU ENTER YOUR HOME: Assess the damage by carefully walking around the outside and check for loose power lines, gas leaks, and structural damage. If you have any doubts about safety, have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before entering.

DO NOT ENTER IF: You smell gas, floodwaters remain around the building, and/or your home was damaged by fire and the authorities have not declared it safe.

GOING INSIDE YOUR HOME: When you go inside your home, there are certain things you should and should not do. Enter the home carefully and check for damage. Be aware of loose boards and slippery floors. The following items are other things to check inside your home:

* Natural gas - If you smell gas or hear a hissing or blowing sound, open a window and leave immediately. Turn off the main gas valve from the outside, if you can. If possible call the gas company from a neighbor’s residence.
* Sparks, broken or frayed wires - Check the electrical system unless you are wet, standing in water, or unsure of your safety. If possible, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If the situation is unsafe, leave the building and call for help. Do not turn on the lights until you are sure they’re safe to use. You may want to have an electrician inspect your wiring.
* Roof, foundation, and chimney cracks - If it looks like the building may collapse, leave immediately.
* Appliances - If appliances are wet, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. Then, unplug appliances and let them dry out. Have appliances checked by a professional before using them again.
* Water and sewage systems - If pipes are damaged, turn off the main water valve. Check with local authorities before using any water; the water could be contaminated. Pump out wells and have the water tested by authorities before drinking. Do not flush toilets until you know that sewage lines are intact.
* Food and other supplies - Throw out all food and other supplies that you suspect may have become contaminated or come in to contact with floodwater.
* Your basement - If your basement has flooded, pump it out gradually (about one third of the water per day) to avoid damage. The walls may collapse and the floor may buckle if the basement is pumped out while the surrounding ground is still waterlogged.
* Open cabinets - Be alert for objects that may fall.
* Clean up household chemical spills - Disinfect items that may have been contaminated by raw sewage, bacteria, or chemicals. Also clean salvageable items.
* Call your insurance agent - Take pictures of damages. Keep good records of repair and cleaning costs
Seeking Assistance after a Hurricane

SEEKING DISASTER ASSISTANCE: Throughout the recovery period, it is important to monitor local radio or television reports and other media sources for information about where to get emergency housing, food, first aid, clothing, and financial assistance. The following section provides general information about the kinds of assistance that may be available.

DIRECT ASSISTANCE: Direct assistance to individuals and families may come from any number of organizations, including: the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and other volunteer organizations. These organizations provide food, shelter, supplies and assist in clean-up efforts.

THE FEDERAL ROLE: In the most severe disasters, the federal government is also called in to help individuals and families with temporary housing, counseling (for post-disaster trauma), low-interest loans and grants, and other assistance. The federal government also has programs that help small businesses and farmers.

Most federal assistance becomes available when the President of the United States declares a “Major Disaster” for the affected area at the request of a state governor. FEMA will provide information through the media and community outreach about federal assistance and how to apply.

Coping after a Hurricane Everyone who sees or experiences a hurricane is affected by it in some way. It is normal to feel anxious about your own safety and that of your family and close friends. Profound sadness, grief, and anger are normal reactions to an abnormal event. Acknowledging your feelings helps you recover. Focusing on your strengths and abilities helps you heal. Accepting help from community programs and resources is healthy. Everyone has different needs and different ways of coping. It is common to want to strike back at people who have caused great pain. Children and older adults are of special concern in the aftermath of disasters. Even individuals who experience a disaster “second hand” through exposure to extensive media coverage can be affected.

Contact local faith-based organizations, voluntary agencies, or professional counselors for counseling. Additionally, FEMA and state and local governments of the affected area may provide crisis counseling assistance.

Minimize this emotional and traumatic experience by being prepared, not scared and therefore you and your family will stay in control and survive a major hurricane.

SIGNS OF HURRICANE RELATED STRESS:

* Difficulty communicating thoughts.
* Difficulty sleeping.
* Difficulty maintaining balance in their lives.
* Low threshold of frustration.
* Increased use of drugs/alcohol.
* Limited attention span.
* Poor work performance.
* Headaches/stomach problems.
* Tunnel vision/muffled hearing.
* Colds or flu-like symptoms.
* Disorientation or confusion.
* Difficulty concentrating.
* Reluctance to leave home.
* Depression, sadness.
* Feelings of hopelessness.
* Mood-swings and easy bouts of crying.
* Overwhelming guilt and self-doubt.
* Fear of crowds, strangers, or being alone.

EASING HURRICANE RELATED STRESS:

* Talk with someone about your feelings - anger, sorrow, and other emotions - even though it may be difficult.
* Seek help from professional counselors who deal with post-disaster stress.
* Do not hold yourself responsible for the disastrous event or be frustrated because you feel you cannot help directly in the rescue work.
* Take steps to promote your own physical and emotional healing by healthy eating, rest, exercise, relaxation, and meditation.
* Maintain a normal family and daily routine, limiting demanding responsibilities on yourself and your family.
* Spend time with family and friends.
* Participate in memorials.
* Use existing support groups of family, friends, and religious institutions.
* Ensure you are ready for future events by restocking your disaster supplies kits and updating your family disaster plan.

Visitor Map
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Preps for Hurricane Season, 3

By: Patrap, 12:55 PM GMT on March 16, 2007

5 After the Storm
Returning home after a hurricane can be both physically and mentally challenging. Above all, use caution. Check for injuries. Do not attempt to move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of death or further injury. If you must move an unconscious person, first stabilize the neck and back, then call for help immediately. Stay informed with our solar powered and hand-crank generator radio and flashlight to listen for emergency updates and to to inspect your damaged home.

BEFORE YOU ENTER YOUR HOME: Assess the damage by carefully walking around the outside and check for loose power lines, gas leaks, and structural damage. If you have any doubts about safety, have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before entering.

DO NOT ENTER IF: You smell gas, floodwaters remain around the building, and/or your home was damaged by fire and the authorities have not declared it safe.

GOING INSIDE YOUR HOME: When you go inside your home, there are certain things you should and should not do. Enter the home carefully and check for damage. Be aware of loose boards and slippery floors. The following items are other things to check inside your home:

* Natural gas - If you smell gas or hear a hissing or blowing sound, open a window and leave immediately. Turn off the main gas valve from the outside, if you can. If possible call the gas company from a neighbor’s residence.
* Sparks, broken or frayed wires - Check the electrical system unless you are wet, standing in water, or unsure of your safety. If possible, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If the situation is unsafe, leave the building and call for help. Do not turn on the lights until you are sure they’re safe to use. You may want to have an electrician inspect your wiring.
* Roof, foundation, and chimney cracks - If it looks like the building may collapse, leave immediately.
* Appliances - If appliances are wet, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. Then, unplug appliances and let them dry out. Have appliances checked by a professional before using them again.
* Water and sewage systems - If pipes are damaged, turn off the main water valve. Check with local authorities before using any water; the water could be contaminated. Pump out wells and have the water tested by authorities before drinking. Do not flush toilets until you know that sewage lines are intact.
* Food and other supplies - Throw out all food and other supplies that you suspect may have become contaminated or come in to contact with floodwater.
* Your basement - If your basement has flooded, pump it out gradually (about one third of the water per day) to avoid damage. The walls may collapse and the floor may buckle if the basement is pumped out while the surrounding ground is still waterlogged.
* Open cabinets - Be alert for objects that may fall.
* Clean up household chemical spills - Disinfect items that may have been contaminated by raw sewage, bacteria, or chemicals. Also clean salvageable items.
* Call your insurance agent - Take pictures of damages. Keep good records of repair and cleaning costs
Seeking Assistance after a Hurricane

SEEKING DISASTER ASSISTANCE: Throughout the recovery period, it is important to monitor local radio or television reports and other media sources for information about where to get emergency housing, food, first aid, clothing, and financial assistance. The following section provides general information about the kinds of assistance that may be available.

DIRECT ASSISTANCE: Direct assistance to individuals and families may come from any number of organizations, including: the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and other volunteer organizations. These organizations provide food, shelter, supplies and assist in clean-up efforts.

THE FEDERAL ROLE: In the most severe disasters, the federal government is also called in to help individuals and families with temporary housing, counseling (for post-disaster trauma), low-interest loans and grants, and other assistance. The federal government also has programs that help small businesses and farmers.

Most federal assistance becomes available when the President of the United States declares a “Major Disaster” for the affected area at the request of a state governor. FEMA will provide information through the media and community outreach about federal assistance and how to apply.


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Preparing for Hurricane Season

By: Patrap, 5:06 PM GMT on March 04, 2007

5
HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS TIPS



Hurricanes and Your Health and Safety

* The great majority of injuries during a hurricane are cuts caused by flying glass or other debris. Other injuries include puncture wounds resulting from exposed nails, metal, or glass, and bone fractures.
* State and local health departments may issue health advisories or recommendations particular to local conditions. If in doubt, contact your local or state health department.
* Make sure to include all essential medications -- both prescription and over the counter -- in your family's emergency disaster kit.

Water Quality

* Hurricanes, especially if accompanied by a tidal surge or flooding, can contaminate the public water supply. Drinking contaminated water may cause illness. You cannot assume that the water in the hurricane-affected area is safe to drink.
* In the area hit by a hurricane, water treatment plants may not be operating; even if they are, storm damage and flooding can contaminate water lines. Listen for public announcements about the safety of the municipal water supply.
* If your well has been flooded, it needs to be tested and disinfected after the storm passes and the floodwaters recede. Questions about testing should be directed to your local or state health department.

Water Safety

* Use bottled water that has not been exposed to flood waters if it is available.
* If you don't have bottled water, you should boil water to make it safe. Boiling water will kill most types of disease-causing organisms that may be present. If the water is cloudy, filter it through clean cloths or allow it to settle, and draw off the clear water for boiling. Boil the water for one minute, let it cool, and store it in clean containers with covers.
* If you can't boil water, you can disinfect it using household bleach. Bleach will kill some, but not all, types of disease-causing organisms that may be in the water. If the water is cloudy, filter it through clean cloths or allow it to settle, and draw off the clear water for disinfection. Add 1/8 teaspoon (or 8 drops) of regular, unscented, liquid household bleach for each gallon of water, stir it well and let it stand for 30 minutes before you use it. Store disinfected water in clean containers with covers.
* If you have a well that has been flooded, the water should be tested and disinfected after flood waters recede. If you suspect that your well may be contaminated, contact your local or state health department or agriculture extension agent for specific advice.

Food Safety

* Do not eat any food that may have come into contact with flood water.
* Discard any food that is not in a waterproof container if there is any chance that it has come into contact with flood water. Food containers that are not waterproof include those with screw-caps, snap lids, pull tops, and crimped caps. Also, discard cardboard juice/milk/baby formula boxes and home canned foods if they have come in contact with flood water, because they cannot be effectively cleaned and sanitized.
* Inspect canned foods and discard any food in damaged cans. Can damage is shown by swelling; leakage; punctures; holes; fractures; extensive deep rusting; or crushing/denting severe enough to prevent normal stacking or opening with a manual, wheel-type can opener.
* Undamaged, commercially prepared foods in all-metal cans and retort pouches (for example, flexible, shelf-stable juice or seafood pouches) can be saved if you do the following:
o Remove the labels, if they are the removable kind, since they can harbor dirt and bacteria.
o Thoroughly wash the cans or retort pouches with soap and water, using hot water if it is available.
o Brush or wipe away any dirt or silt.
o Rinse the cans or retort pouches with water that is safe for drinking, if available, since dirt or residual soap will reduce the effectiveness of chlorine sanitation.
o Then, sanitize them by immersion in one of the two following ways:
+ place in water and allow the water to come to a boil and continue boiling for 2 minutes, or
+ place in a freshly-made solution consisting of 1 tablespoon of unscented liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water (or the cleanest, clearest water available) for 15 minutes.
* Air dry cans or retort pouches for a minimum of 1 hour before opening or storing.
* If the labels were removable, then re-label your cans or retort pouches, including the expiration date (if available), with a marker.
* Food in reconditioned cans or retort pouches should be used as soon as possible, thereafter.
* Any concentrated baby formula in reconditioned, all-metal containers must be diluted with clean, drinking water.
* Thoroughly wash metal pans, ceramic dishes, and utensils (including can openers) with soap and water, using hot water if available. Rinse, and then sanitize them by boiling in clean water or immersing them for 15 minutes in a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water (or the cleanest, clearest water available).
* Thoroughly wash countertops with soap and water, using hot water if available. Rinse, and then sanitize by applying a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented, liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of drinking water (or the cleanest, clearest water available). Allow to air dry.

Frozen and Refrigerated Foods

* If you will be without power for a long period:
o ask friends to store your frozen foods in their freezers if they have electricity;
o see if freezer space is available in a store, church, school, or commercial freezer that has electrical service; or
o use dry ice, if available. Twenty-five pounds of dry ice will keep a ten-cubic-foot freezer below freezing for 3-4 days. Use care when handling dry ice, and wear dry, heavy gloves to avoid injury.
* Your refrigerator will keep foods cool for about four hours without power if it is unopened. Add block or dry ice to your refrigerator if the electricity will be off longer than four hours.
* Thawed food can usually be eaten if it is still "refrigerator cold," or re-frozen if it still contains ice crystals.
* To be safe, remember, "When in doubt, throw it out." Discard any food that has been at room temperature for two hours or more, and any food that has an unusual odor, color, or texture.

Sanitation and Hygiene

It is critical for you to remember to practice basic hygiene during the emergency period. Always wash your hands with soap and water that has been boiled or disinfected:

* before preparing or eating
* after toilet use
* after participating in cleanup activities; and
* after handling articles contaminated with floodwater or sewage.

If there is flooding along with a hurricane, the waters may contain fecal material from overflowing sewage systems and agricultural and industrial waste. Although skin contact with floodwater does not, by itself, pose a serious health risk, there is risk of disease from eating or drinking anything contaminated with floodwater.

If you have any open cuts or sores that will be exposed to floodwater, keep them as clean as possible by washing them with soap and applying an antibiotic ointment to discourage infection. If a wound develops redness, swelling, or drainage, seek immediate medical attention.

Do not allow children to play in floodwater areas. Wash children's hands frequently (always before meals), and do not allow children to play with floodwater-contaminated toys that have not been disinfected. You can disinfect toys using a solution of one cup of bleach in five gallons of water.

Immunizations

Outbreaks of communicable diseases after hurricanes are unusual. However, the rates of diseases that were present before a hurricane may increase because of a lack of sanitation or overcrowding in shelters. Increases in infectious diseases that were not present before the hurricane are not a problem, so mass vaccination programs are unnecessary.

If you have wounds, you should be evaluated for a tetanus immunization, just as you would at any other time of injury. If you receive a puncture wound or a wound contaminated with feces, soil, or saliva, have a doctor or health department determine whether a tetanus booster is necessary based on individual records.

Specific recommendations for vaccinations should be made on a case-by-case basis, or as determined by local and state health departments.

Mosquitoes

Rain and flooding in a hurricane area may lead to an increase in mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are most active at sunrise and sunset. In most cases, the mosquitoes will be pests but will not carry communicable diseases. It is unlikely that diseases which were not present in the area prior to the hurricane would be of concern. Local, state, and federal public health authorities will be actively working to control the spread of any mosquito-borne diseases.

To protect yourself from mosquitoes, use screens on dwellings, and wear clothes with long sleeves and long pants. Insect repellents that contain DEET are very effective. Be sure to read all instructions before using DEET. Care must be taken when using DEET on small children. Products containing DEET are available from stores and through local and state health departments.

To control mosquito populations, drain all standing water left in open containers outside your home.

Mental Health

The days and weeks after a hurricane are going to be rough. In addition to your physical health, you need to take some time to consider your mental health as well. Remember that some sleeplessness, anxiety, anger, hyperactivity, mild depression, or lethargy are normal, and may go away with time. If you feel any of these symptoms acutely, seek counseling. Remember that children need extra care and attention before, during, and after the storm. Be sure to locate a favorite toy or game for your child before the storm arrives to help maintain his/her sense of security. Your state and local health departments will help you find the local resources, including hospitals or health care providers, that you may need.Visitor Map
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The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.