According to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s recent announcement, the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy has been assessed at $36.9 billion. The hurricane destroyed over 30,000 buildings, both residential and commercial, and damaged tens of thousands of others. Massive power outages affected millions of people in Sandy’s aftermath, providing a new appreciation for the basic necessities we so often take for granted.
As we rebuild, it is important to continue to keep in mind the dangers that follow such a huge storm, even as time goes by. Awareness of these dangers will also help us prepare for storms in the future, though we hope that our preparations prove unnecessary.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), some of the safety issues that come in Sandy’s wake may include:
- Mold in homes and businesses
- Contaminated water
- Gas leaks
- Broken glass
- Damaged electrical wiring
The U.S. Fire Administration emphasized the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. A colorless and odorless gas, carbon monoxide cannot be detected by our senses, but it can kill in minutes. Using supplemental heat sources inside the house, including fireplaces and furnaces, can increase the amount of carbon monoxide in the air. Every home should have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors installed and residents should check the batteries regularly.
FEMA has a special webpage with useful instructions on how to prepare for weather-related and other disasters. The goal: do what we can to stay safe before, during and after disaster strikes.