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Q&A: Riding Out the Storm Safely

How to Stay Safe in Hurricane Sandy's Aftermath
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Pills that have gotten wet from flood waters should be discarded, as they could be contaminated.

Q: What about the risk of hypothermia, a dangerous drop in body temperature?

If you are without heat and the temperature drops, first close off rooms you don't need.

If you have a fireplace, or wood stove, be sure it is adequately vented to the outdoors. Don't use propane in the house to stay warm.

Dress in layers. Use blankets. Wear a hat to keep body heat up. Be especially sure elderly family members and infants follow these measures. They are more vulnerable to hypothermia.

Q: If water gets into my house, how do I avoid electrocution?

If flooding is likely, turn off natural gas and electricity. If you don't have a chance to do that and the basement floods, do not enter the basement. If any electrical wires are in contact with the water, electric shock can occur.

Call the electric company immediately.

Q: Is it OK to use a portable generator?

Generators should only be operated outdoors, as carbon monoxide can build up and cause lethal poisoning if used indoors. Only use the generator in a dry outdoor location, which may be impossible in the hurricane's aftermath.

Q: What about reducing the risk of mold?

As soon as possible, get standing water out of your house. Remove standing water by using a mop, pail, or a wet/dry shop vac, if you have power. Open the windows. If you have a fan and power, use it to help reduce remaining moisture.

Discard materials that don't dry out -- mold can cause severe allergic reactions.

If water is in the walls, call a professional water damage service.

Q: When evacuating, how can I stay safe in a car?

Be on the lookout for live wires in the roads and do not drive over them.

Bypass streets submerged in water. Your car could be carried away, even in what looks like low water levels.

Be aware of the threat of the road collapsing. Drive as slowly and steadily as you can.

If your car becomes trapped in the water, abandon it if possible.

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