Florida Accident Prevention: Are You Ready for Hurricane Season?

by Carmen Dellutri on August 15, 2011

Port Charlotte personal injury attorneyAs the Atlantic Ocean begins to churn, it is important to make sure that you are prepared to prevent injury in the wake of a dangerous hurricane. While the weather may be unpredictable, many hurricane-related injuries can be prevented by being aware of hazards and by avoiding potentially dangerous situations.

Here are a few tips to stay safe this hurricane season:

▪       Drive cautiously. Do not drive through flooded roads. Water may be deeper than it appears.

▪       Wear Life Jackets. In the event of rising floodwater, children and adults who are not strong swimmers should wear U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets--personal flotation devices (PFDs)--whenever they are in or around the water. Everyone, including strong swimmers, should wear a Coast Guard approved PFD when in a boat used for rescue or escape.

▪       Watch out for loose or dangling power lines; stay away from them and report them immediately to the proper authorities.

▪       Do not leave children unattended. Do not allow them to play in or explore damaged or flooded areas. Keep chemicals used for cleaning and disinfecting, fuel for generators, and pest-control substances out of reach of children.

▪       Wear sturdy shoes or boots and protective clothing such as heavy pants, long sleeves and gloves when cleaning up debris.

▪       Don’t get burned. During past storms, reports of burn injuries have increase. If you are using camp stoves or fires to cook with, pay attention and don’t get burned.

▪       Protect your eyes. Eye injuries have increased during past storms. Make sure to wear eye protection if you are handling chainsaws and watch where you are going – a storm may have placed materials at eye level that could be harmful.

▪       Exercise particular caution in using power tools or tackling large debris, which can shift suddenly. Chain saws are particularly dangerous; get proper safety training before using one. Inexperienced individuals are routinely injured when using chain saws in post-storm cleanup. Falls are common; use safety equipment and get trained help with large or difficult jobs. Don't take chances.

▪       If the electrical power to your home is off and you cook on a charcoal or gas grill, carbon monoxide is a threat. An odorless, colorless gas produced by combustion, carbon monoxide can be deadly. Use a grill only in an open, well-ventilated area, never inside the house, and keep it away from flammable materials.

▪       The exhaust fumes from gasoline-powered generators are another source of carbon monoxide poisoning. Never use a generator in an enclosed area such as a basement or garage. Make sure the area is well ventilated, dry, and preferably covered.

▪       Generators also pose electrical hazards. Do not connect the generator to your home's electrical system. Instead, connect appliances directly to the generator with properly sized polarized extension cords. Do not overload the generator or the cords, and place the cords where no one will trip over them. Be sure the generator is properly grounded (follow the manufacturer's directions). Before refueling, let the engine cool for at least two minutes to prevent fires. Store extra fuel in a safe, dry area.

▪       If you are returning to a storm-damaged house, be particularly careful. Before entering the building, check for structural damage to be sure there is no danger of collapse. Turn off any outside gas lines at the meter or tank and let the house air for a few minutes. Even if the electricity is off in the neighborhood, make sure the electrical power is turned off at the main breaker or fuse box. Electricity and water are a dangerous combination--if you have to step in water to get to the breaker box, call a professional electrician first for advice. Don't turn on any lights, appliances, or gas systems until they've been tested. If you must enter the house at night, use a battery-operated flashlight, never an open flame as a light source, and do not smoke.

Source: North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

 

The Dellutri Law Group is focused on making bad situations better and putting lives back together. If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Florida hurricane-related accident, you may be entitled to compensation.

To learn more about your legal options, contact our experienced injury attorneys for a free consultation.

 

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