As people impacted by Hurricane Michael begin to return to their neighborhoods, the American Red Cross has safety steps they should follow.
Due to issues with communication lines throughout Florida’s Panhandle, there has been an increase in the number of calls for individuals missing, well-being checks, and concerns. The state has established a webpage for individuals to report these concerns. The State EOC will route these inquiries to the appropriate local agency for response. Go to Hurricane Michael Life Safety Reports.
- The Red Cross has two easy ways to help you reconnect with loved ones.
- The Red Cross Emergency App features an “I’m Safe” button that allows users to post a message to their social accounts, letting friends and family know they are out of harm’s way.
- The Red Cross also offers the Safe and Well website, a secure option that allows people to list their own status and allows friends and family to search for messages from their loved ones. To register yourself or search for a loved one
on the Safe and Well website, visit redcross.org/safeandwell. You can also call 1-
800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) to be connected with your local chapter.
- If evacuated, return only when authorities say it is safe to do so.
- Continue listening to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio for updated information and instructions.
- Stay out of any building that has water around it.
- Keep away from loose or dangling power lines. Report them immediately to the power company.
- Eliminate unnecessary travel, especially by car. Traffic lights will be out and roads will be congested.
- Do not use water that could be contaminated to wash dishes, brush teeth, prepare food, wash hands, make ice or make baby formula.
- Watch animals closely and keep them under your direct control.
- Help people who require additional assistance—infants, elderly people, those without transportation, large families who may need additional help in an emergency situation, people with disabilities, and the people who care for them.
- Take pictures of home damage, both of the buildings and its contents, for insurance purposes.
- Wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and rubber boots, and be cautious when cleaning up.
- Throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures higher than 40° F (4° C) for 2 hours or more, or that has an unusual odor, color or texture. When in doubt, throw it out!
- If you are not sure food is cold enough, take its temperature with a food thermometer.
- If food in the freezer is colder than 40° F and has ice crystals on it, you can refreeze it
USING A GENERATOR When using a portable generator, connect the equipment you want to power directly to the outlets on the generator. Do not connect a portable generator to a home’s electrical system.
- Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area.
- Locate unit away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF Disasters are upsetting experiences for everyone involved. For people in the path of this storm, this is a particularly stressful time.
- Spend more time with family and friends and offer your support.
- Stay informed but limit exposure to media coverage of the events. Especially limit media coverage for children.
- Take care of yourself. Eat healthy, drink plenty of water and get enough rest.
- Be patient with yourself and others. It’s common to have any number of temporary stress reactions such as anger, frustration and anxiety.
- Children, senior citizens, people with disabilities and people for whom English is not their first language are especially at risk and are likely to need extra care and help.
If you find yourself or a loved one experiencing some of the feelings and reactions listed below for two weeks or longer, this may be a sign that you need to reach out for additional assistance.
- Crying spells or bursts of anger
- Difficulty eating
- Difficulty sleeping
- Losing interest in things
- Increased physical symptoms such as headaches or stomachaches
- Feeling guilty, helpless or hopeless
- Avoiding family and friends
To reach out for free 24/7 counseling or support, contact the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs’ to 66746.