A hurricane is a devastating event that can destroy property and even cost lives. In the aftermath of a hurricane, people living in an affected community may suddenly find themselves lacking basic necessities, including food and shelter. The following are some tips from survivors who have lived through a hurricane and gone on to rebuild their lives.

Wait Until Local Authorities Have Declared It Safe To Return Home

When the storm is over, evacuees may be tempted to get back to their home as soon as possible. However, returning too soon can be dangerous because survivors may return to a place with no food, fuel, electricity, or drinking water. It’s important to wait until basic services are up and running before returning home.

Follow Safety Guidelines

After a community has been hit by a major hurricane, there will be many safety risks, such as continued flooding, fallen power lines, and contaminated water. Driving when there is still water on the road can be very dangerous. In addition, people should consider food safety. Food in a refrigerator may not be safe to eat if there was a power outage, for example, and perishable goods may have been contaminated by flood water.

Learn What Help Is Available

Many hurricane survivors are able to get back on their feet with assistance from FEMA and from private organizations, like Cane Bay Cares, a non-profit organization that was established to help survivors of Hurricanes Irma and Maria in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The organization has provided food, water, electrical generators, and many basic necessities for hurricane victims. For example, founder Kirk Chewning purchased furniture for one family who had lost everything in the storms.

Seek Counseling For Emotional Healing

Many people who survive a hurricane suffer great losses, including loved ones and cherished pets. Even if the losses are only material, there is still cause for grief. It can take a long time to heal from the trauma a hurricane can cause, and many survivors find that counseling is beneficial. Often there are programs available that provide free crisis counseling, like the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s help line for victims of Hurricane Michael in Florida.

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