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Last revision: 3/21/03

Dealing With The Aftermath


* Protecting Pets
Be careful when allowing your pet outdoors. Familiar scents and landmarks may be lacking and could cause your pet to become confused and/or lost.
Downed power lines, reptiles and other creatures brought in by high waters can be dangers to your pet. Be sure to keep the pet in sight if you allow it outdoors.
Consult with your veterinarian if you have questions or concerns about your pet.

* Food, Water & Cooking
If you are without electricity and are using dry ice to keep food frozen:
  • Remember to use gloves when handling it.
  • Allow 2.5-3 pounds of dry ice per cubic foot of freezer space - more will be needed for an upright freezer because the ice should be placed on each shelf. Twenty-five pounds of dry ice in a half-full freezer should keep food froze for 2-3 days. The same amount of dry ice in a full freezer should keep food frozen for 3-4 days.
  • Cover the freezer with blankets but don't cover any air vents. Leave it unlocked; gas given off by the dry ice needs a way to escape.
If you are without refrigeration:
  • Open only enough food containers for 1 meal.
  • Substitute canned and/or powdered milk for fresh milk.
  • Commercial canned foods can be eaten straight from the can.
  • Foods usually will stay frozen at least a day maybe two or three with the freezer closed.
  • Food in well-insulated, 4-cubic-foot freezers should not spoil in less than 3 days.
  • Food in well-insulated, 12-to 36-cubic foot freezers should not spoil in less that 5 days. Food may be okay for 7-8 days if the food is very cold.
  • You may safely refreeze some foods if they contain ice crystals or if they have been kept at about 40 degrees for no more than two days. If the temperature is above 50 degrees, throw the food out.
  • Discard meat or poultry if the odor is questionable or the temperature has exceeded 40 degrees for more than two hours. Fish and shellfish should be discarded.
  • Most chopped meat, poultry and seafood sandwich fillings should not be left unrefrigerated for more than 2 hours.
  • Hard cheese keeps well at room temperature. Soft cheeses spoil quickly.
  • Each person needs about two quarts of water or liquids daily.
  • Clean, pure water is needed for food preparation, brushing teeth and cleaning.
  • Unless absolutely certain that your water supply is uncontaminated, purify all water before using it for drinking, food preparation, brushing teeth, or dish-washing.

* Keeping Cool
Heat and humidity can be dangerous during hurricane cleanup work. Water is in short supply or unavailable. Air conditioning and other forms of cooling may be unavailable.
Tips for Safety:
  • Schedule strenuous tasks for the coolest time of day.
  • Dress lightly.
  • Eat lightly.
  • Drink water.
  • Don't drink alcoholic beverages.
  • Don't take salt tablets without doctor's permission.
  • Consult your doctor about current medications. Certain medicines can increase heat and ultra-violet sensitivity.
  • Spend time in air-conditioned places if possible.
  • Limit exposure to the sun.

* Trimming Trees
Trim split branches close to the main branch or trunk. Don't leave a knob to rot.
Small trees that have been recently planted and were torn out of the ground can be replaced after being cut back. Tie in place and water daily for two or three weeks.
Contact a tree-trimmer, landscaper, or nursery for more information.

* Salvaging Books, Papers, Clothing & Furniture
Clothes:
  • Check to see if garments are washable.
  • Brush off loose dirt, if garment is dry.
  • Rinse in clean, cool water to remove mud. Rinse until water is clear.
  • Work a heavy-duty detergent into all stained areas. Let stand 15-20 minutes.
  • Following care labels, wash with detergent in the hottest water safe for the garment.
  • If the garment is wet but not soiled, dry in cool air to prevent mildew and color dye transfer.
  • If dry-cleanable, take to the dry cleaner as soon as possible and inform them of what caused the damage.
Books & Papers:
  • If books and papers are damp, sprinkle cornstarch or talcum powder between the pages to absorb the moisture. After several hours, brush the powder off.
  • Books that are water damaged should be placed on end with pages separated.
  • When pages are partially dry, pile and press books to keep the pages from crumpling.
  • Alternate drying and pressing until books are thoroughly dry. This helps prevent mildew. Use a fan to speed up the drying process.
  • When books are nearly dry, apply low heat with an electric iron. Separate the pages to prevent any musty odors.
  • When books are completely dry, close them and use clamps to help retain their shape.
  • Books may be frozen until you have time to work with them. Freezing controls the mold growth.
Furniture:
Only pieces worth restoring based on damage, cost, sentimental value, and cost to restore.
  • Solid wood furniture: clean, dry and re-glue pieces. Removed and straighten slightly warped boards.
  • Wood veneer furniture: costly to restore if extensively damaged.
  • Wipe off springs and frames. Dry all metal parts, repaint with a rust-inhibiting paint, and oil springs.
  • Dry wood furniture indoors slowly, not in direct sunlight.
  • Mildew on fabric-covered furniture:
    • Brush off with a broom to remove loose mold.
    • Vacuum surface to draw out mold.
    • If mildew remains and fabric is washable, sponge lightly with thick soap.
    • Wipe with a clean, damp cloth.
    • Use as little water as possible to keep the padding from getting wet.
    • If mildew remains, wipe with a cloth dampened with a diluted alcohol (1 cup denatured alcohol to 1 cup water) or a bleach solution (1/4 teaspoon bleach to a cup of water). Then dry the article thoroughly.

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