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Tips for how to safely clean up after a storm

When a storm has passed, learn the safety precautions to take once it’s gone.

After a storm, many think the danger left with the high winds, heavy rain and lightning strikes; but sometimes danger can come during the storm recovery period. Keeping your distance from downed power lines, and follow these safety tips for cleaning up after a storm:

Wear proper safety material: As you are cleaning up, make sure you are wearing proper protection to prevent injury. Work gloves, safety glasses, heavy-duty work shirt with long sleeves, work pants and steel-toe work boots are a good idea if you are working on clearing large amounts of broken, splintered or sharp debris.

Stay away from power lines: Always assume a downed power line is live. Downed power lines pose a particularly dangerous threat in areas where there are lots of people trying to clear fallen trees and branches from roads and lawns. Let the professionals handle this job. It's not worth the risk. If you see a downed power line that is sparking or on fire, call your local power company immediately.

Use flashlights, not candles: When checking for damage to a home, never use matches, candles, lighters or kerosene lanterns as a light source. Igniting a flame while near damaged gas lines can cause an explosion.

Stay away from damaged buildings or structures: If a building has been subjected to rushing flood waters or has been submerged under water, it may not be structurally safe. It's best to stay away from these types of structures until professionals can assess the extent of the damage.

Never operate gasoline-powered equipment indoors: Gas engines emit carbon monoxide—an odorless, colorless, and poisonous gas you should never breathe.

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