Hurricane Katrina: Surviving the Aftermath

Margaret A. Clark, RN, RRT-NPS

Disclosures

September 01, 2005

In This Article

Going Home

Over the next few weeks and months, millions of residents across the country will be dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Although the destruction has been widespread, it has not been homogeneous. Some are dealing with a few inches of water in their homes, whereas others will be coping with houses that have been completely submerged. Almost all are dealing with a loss of electricity and questionable access to potable drinking water.

The potential health impact on these of Americans has yet to be determined. But the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) have developed some guidelines for residents dealing with the repercussions of Hurricane Katrina. Below are some highlights. For more detailed information, please click on the accompanying links.

If you have evacuated your home, before returning, the CDC recommends as a minimum that you:

  1. Find out whether the authorities have declared the area safe.

  2. Watch for debris on the road while driving.

  3. Return to your predetermined assembly point and/or contact your preestablished, out-of-area contact person. Make sure that all family members have been accounted for and let others know of your status.

  4. Make sure that the main electrical switch to your home is off before entering the structure.

  5. Be careful when entering a structure that has been damaged.

  6. If you suspect a gas leak, leave immediately and notify the gas company.

  7. If possible, listen to the radio or contact authorities to find out whether sewage lines are intact before turning on the water or using the toilet.

  8. Report utility damage to the proper authorities.

  9. Continue to monitor your radio or television for up-to-date emergency information.

For more information, see CDC Hurricanes.

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