As communities inspect the damage from the storms, our thoughts and prayers continue to be with those who’ve lost loved ones and whose lives have been affected by the severe weather and tornadoes.
As areas become more accessible, FEMA encourages disaster survivors to be careful around debris and damaged buildings. Because tornadoes often damage power lines, gas lines or electrical systems, there is a risk of fire, electrocution or an explosion. Protecting yourself and your family requires promptly treating any injuries suffered during the storm and using extreme care to avoid further hazards.
Here are some safety precautions that could help you avoid injury after a tornado:
- Continue to monitor your battery-powered radio or television for emergency information.
- Be careful when entering any structure that has been damaged.
- Wear sturdy shoes or boots, long sleeves and gloves when handling or walking on or near debris.
- Be aware of hazards from exposed nails and broken glass.
- Do not touch downed power lines or objects in contact with downed lines. Report electrical hazards to the police and the utility company.
- Use battery-powered lanterns, if possible, rather than candles to light homes without electrical power.
- Never use generators, pressure washers, grills, camp stoves or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside your home, basement, garage or camper -- or even outside near an open window, door or vent. These sources can cause carbon monoxide (CO) -- an odorless, colorless gas -- to build up in your home, garage or camper and poison the people and animals inside. Seek prompt medical attention if you suspect CO poisoning and are feeling dizzy, light-headed or nauseated.
- Hang up displaced telephone receivers that may have been knocked off by the tornado, but stay off the telephone, except to report an emergency.
- Cooperate fully with public safety officials.
When inspecting damages to your home, consider the following tips:
- After a tornado, be aware of possible structural, electrical or gas-leak hazards in your home. Contact your local city or county building inspectors for information on structural safety codes and standards. They may also offer suggestions on finding a qualified contractor to do work for you.
- In general, if you suspect any damage to your home, shut off electrical power, natural gas and propane tanks to avoid fire, electrocution or explosions.
- If it is dark when you are inspecting your home, use a flashlight rather than a candle or torch to avoid the risk of fire or explosion in a damaged home.
- If you see frayed wiring or sparks, or if there is an odor of something burning, you should immediately shut off the electrical system at the main circuit breaker if you have not done so already.
- If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve, open all windows and leave the house immediately. Notify the gas company, the police or fire departments, or State Fire Marshal's office and do not turn on the lights, light matches, smoke or do anything that could cause a spark. Do not return to your house until you are told it is safe to do so.
For more information on how you can protect your family before, during, and after emergencies, visit www.ready.gov or www.listo.gov. If you have a Blackberry, Android or Apple device, you can download the FEMA app to access safety tips, shelter locations, and more.
Atlanta, Ga., March 3, 2012 -- Regional Administrator Phil May, Deputy Regional Administrator Mary Lynn Miller and senior staff participate in a coordination call following the deadly tornado outbreak on Friday and Saturday, March 2-3.
Atlanta, Ga., March 3, 2012 -- FEMA staff in the Atlanta Regional Response Coordination Center (RRCC) participate in a video teleconference on the anticipated federal role in the response to the deadly tornado outbreak of March 2-3.
The following are a few updates since yesterday's response and support update:
- At the request of the states of Indiana and Tennessee, we are deploying teams to conduct joint preliminary damage assessments with other state and local personnel. These assessments will begin Tuesday, March 6 and the purpose is to identify the damages in impacted counties and to help the respective governors determine if additional federal support will be requested.
- The four teams deployed to Missouri to conduct joint preliminary damage assessments completed their assessments yesterday, Saturday, March 3. The assessments identify the damages in impacted counties and will help the governor determine if additional federal support will be requested.
- More than 109,000 meals and 648,000 liters of water are en route to the incident support base that FEMA and the Department of Defense established in Kentucky. The purpose of the incident support base is to stage commodities (meals, water, cots and blankets) close to the impacted areas if needed and requested by the states.
For those looking for ways to help tornado survivors, cash donations to disaster relief organizations are preferred because financial contributions will allow voluntary organizations to fund response and recovery efforts quickly and provide goods and services that disaster survivors need.
This morning, Administrator Fugate reiterated this point:
The compassion and generosity of the American people is never more evident than after a disaster. We recognize that individuals and organizations will want to do what they can to help those affected by these devastating storms. I encourage those who are interested in helping, to do so by supporting the voluntary agencies that are providing disaster relief in affected areas. The National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters provides information on trusted organizations that provide disaster relief. Again, I encourage you to give generously. Thank you.