On the afternoon of Sunday, September 18, 2022, Hurricane Fiona made landfall in Puerto Rico and left its 3.2 million residents without power. The storm has dropped nearly 30 inches of rain so far on the already saturated ground causing catastrophic flooding, swelling many rivers, and damaging roads and bridges.
Despite only being classified as a Category 1 hurricane, its effects have been devastating and prove the point that, even in quiet years, it only takes one storm to bring catastrophic disaster.
When it comes to disaster-related injuries, studies have shown that most of them occur after a disaster, when people venture out of their homes or shelters to access the damage. Below are several tips from the CDC and Ready.gov to stay safe after a hurricane:
- Pay attention to local officials for information and special instructions
- Stay out of floodwater. The water can contain dangerous pathogens, debris, chemicals, waste, and wildlife. Underground or downed power lines also can electrically charge the water.
- Never use a wet electrical device
- When the power is out, use flashlights, not candles
- Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning
- Be careful near damaged buildings
- Stay away from power lines and treat them as if they are “live”
- Protect yourself from animals and pests
- Be careful during clean-up. Wear protective clothing and use appropriate face coverings or masks if cleaning mold or other debris.
- Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or if you are standing in water. If it is safe to do so, turn off electricity at the main breaker or fuse box to prevent electric shock.
- Save phone calls for emergencies. Use text messages or social media to communicate with family and friends.
- Document any property damage with photographs. Contact your insurance company for assistance.
Additional Hurricane Resources: