Hazards to watch out for after superstorm Sandy
Superstorm Sandy may be gone in many areas, but there are still potential hazards to watch for in its aftermath:
- Downed power lines. Avoid them because they may still be live. And report them to the power company.
- Trees. Check for cracks, dangerous leaning and soil fractures that may indicate unstable roots and a tree about to topple.
- Flooded roads and bridges. Don't drive on them because they may have weakened.
- Well water. If you get your water from a well, don't drink or prepare food with tap water until you are sure it's not contaminated.
- Returning home. Stay out of any building if it's still surrounded by flood water, if you smell gas or if there are signs of damage and it hasn't been declared safe by a building inspector or structural engineer.
- Backup power. Never use generators inside homes, garages, crawl spaces or sheds, even when using fans or opening doors and windows for ventilation. Deadly levels of carbon monoxide can quickly build up and linger for hours, even after the generator has been shut off.
- Grilling. Never fire up a charcoal grill inside a house, fireplace or tent because it also produces carbon monoxide.
- In the dark. Use battery-powered flashlights, not candles. The flashlight should be turned on outside before entering a dark home because the battery could produce a spark and ignite leaking gas. Unattended candles can cause fires.
- In the fridge. Check refrigerated food for spoilage. If in doubt, throw it out.
- Cleaning up. Wear protective clothing and be cautious to avoid injury.
Sources: Federal Emergency Management Agency, Connecticut Department of Public Health.
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