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After the Storm

How to handle displaced animals and home repairs after Hurricane Nicole passes


The Florida Department of Health in Orange County released helpful advice on how to manage life after the storm as it relates to safety precautions on home repairs and how to manage displaced animals when Hurricane Nicole leaves the area.

Home repairs:

The danger of a storm does not end when it passes. The Florida Department of Health in Orange County suggests taking the following safety precautions to prevent personal injury when addressing storm repairs.

· Wear goggles, heavy gloves and steel-toed boots.
· If possible, work in pairs or groups.
· Take short breaks and work during the cooler hours of the day.
· Immediately clean all open wounds and cuts with soap and clean water. Cuts beyond minor scratches may require medical attention.
· Avoid lifting more than 50 pounds of debris or building materials. Two or more people should move bulky objects.
· Avoid heat stroke and heat exhaustion by wearing light-colored, loose-fitting clothing and drinking a glass of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes.
· Only experienced people should use chain saws and specialized equipment. When using chain saws or other heavy equipment, wear earplugs.
· To prevent electrocution in wet areas, turn power off at the main breaker.
· Never handle a downed power line.
· Never bring gasoline- or diesel-powered pumps, generators or pressure washers indoors as they release carbon monoxide – a deadly, colorless, odorless gas.
· Set priorities for clean-up tasks and pace the work over several days or weeks.
· Avoid exhaustion by taking frequent rest breaks and resuming a normal sleep schedule as soon as possible.
· Never assume that water-damaged structures are safe; leave immediately if shifting or unusual noises occur.
· Take advantage of disaster relief programs and services in your community.

Displaced Animals:

The Florida Department of Health in Orange County advises residents to protect themselves against injury from animals that may become displaced because of the storm.

How to Prevent a Snake Bite:

  • Be aware of snakes that may be swimming in the water to get to higher ground and those that may be hiding under debris or other objects.
  • If you see a snake, back away from it slowly and do not touch it.

Signs of a Snake Bite:

Pay attention to signs that indicate you may have a snake bite. If you have to walk in high water, you may or may not feel a bite. The signs and symptoms may include:

  • A pair of puncture marks at the wound
  • Redness and swelling around the bite
  • Severe pain at the site of the bite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Labored breathing (in extreme cases, breathing may stop altogether)
  • Disturbed vision
  • Increased salivation and sweating
  • Numbness or tingling around your face and/or limbs

What to Do:

  • Try to see the color and skin pattern of the snake, which can help with treatment of the snake bite.
  • Keep the bitten person still and calm. This can slow down the spread of venom if the snake is poisonous. Seek medical attention as soon as possible.
  • Dial 911 or call local Emergency Medical Services.

- Apply first aid if you cannot get the person to the hospital right away.

- Lay or sit the person down with the bite below the level of the heart.

- Tell him/her to stay calm and still.

- Cover the bite with a clean, dry dressing.

What NOT To Do:

  • Do not pick up the snake or try to trap it (this may put you or someone else at risk for a bite).
  • Do not apply a tourniquet.
  • Do not slash the wound with a knife.
  • Do not suck out the venom.
  • Do not apply ice or immerse the wound in water.
  • Do not drink alcohol as a pain killer.
  • Do not drink caffeinated beverages.

How to Prevent Fire Ant Stings and Bites:

  • Anyone with a history of severe allergic reactions to insect bites or stings should discuss their allergy with their primary health care provider who may recommend carrying an epinephrine auto injector (EpiPen). We recommend you also wear a medical identification bracelet or necklace stating their allergy.
  • During flooding conditions, colonies of fire ants are capable of floating in clusters or “rafts,” posing a threat to anything encountering them.
  • Colonies can also be formed under rocks, wood or other debris on the ground, edges of bodies of water, trash cans and areas with spilled food or sugary drinks.
  • Expect indoor invasions. Fire ants can easily enter structures through tiny cracks and crevices after a flood. Occasionally, entire colonies will migrate into structures and nest in wall voids, children’s or immobile person’s beds.
  • Do not disturb or stand on or near ant mounds.
  • Be careful when lifting items (including animal carcasses) off the ground, as they may be covered in ants.
  • Fire ants may also be found on trees or in water, so always look over the area before starting to work.

First Aid for Fire Ant Bites:

  • Rub off ants briskly, as they will attach to the skin with their jaws.
  • Antihistamines may help.
  • Follow directions on packaging.
  • Drowsiness may occur.
  • Seek immediate medical attention at an emergency medical facility immediately if a sting causes severe chest pain, nausea, severe sweating, loss of breath, serious swelling, or slurred speech.

Preventing Rodent Infestations:

  • Surviving rodents often relocate to new areas in search of food, water and shelter.
  • Removing food sources, water and items that provide shelter for rodents is the best way to prevent contact with rodents.
  • Dispose of garbage on a frequent and regular basis inside and outside of the home.
  • Thoroughly clean areas with signs of rodent activity to reduce the likelihood of exposure to germs and diseases.
  • For information on rodent control and diseases please visit: http://www.floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/rodents/index.html

For further information, please contact your local county health department or visit www.floridahealth.gov or www.FloridaDisaster.org.

About the Florida Department of Health

The department, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board, works to protect, promote, and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, and community efforts.

Orange County, Department of Health in Orange County, Displaced Animals, Home Repairs, Hurricane Nicole


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