Red Cross :: American Red Cross urges caution at home

As residents of Central Florida awoke this morning to updated reports of increased devastation in their community, some have begun to start the recovery process.

If you have remained home and started to pick up the pieces or are returning home and surveying the damage, the Red Cross urges all residents to use extreme caution and stay safe. In the aftermath of a tornado:

Listen to local and emergency officials ? Use a portable radio or television to listen to the local news for updates, and follow instructions from emergency officials.
Put on protective clothing ? Put on long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, sturdy shoes and work gloves to protect yourself from broken items and debris.
Check for injuries ? Make sure you and your loved ones are okay and seek medical attention if needed.
Watch for hazards in your neighborhood ? Look out for fallen electrical wires, broken gas lines and debris from fallen power lines. Report downed lines immediately so that utilities can be turned off at the source. Avoid hazardous debris such as broken glass or spilled chemicals and do not go into damaged buildings.
Inspect your home ? Inspect your home for damage and get everyone out if it is unsafe. Contact local officials for additional information.
Children and pets ? If you have children and/or pets, try to keep them calm and comfort them. Even a normally docile animal when scared may react by biting or scratching, so handle service animals and pets with care.
Use stored clean water ? Contaminated water may have a bad odor or taste. Treat all water of uncertain purity before using it for drinking, food preparation or hygiene. For more information on treating water, please visit
Check on neighbors ? Older adults and people with disabilities may require additional assistance during an emergency. Caregivers or neighbors with large households, especially those with small children or infants, may appreciate an extra hand as well.
Eliminate unnecessary travel ? Unnecessary travel may hamper efforts by emergency and construction crews. In addition, traffic signals stop working during an outage, creating congestion and fallen trees, branches or other debris that may make roads inaccessible.

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