Tornados hit in an instant—we’ve heard of recent devastation at an Oklahoma school and another one outside of Oklahoma City, and in some Texas neighborhoods. Many are left homeless, car-less and without family. The aftermath of a tornado or a hurricane like Hurricane Katrina can be horrific, and the areas of disaster remain that way for weeks on end until clean-up crews and residents can take care of what’s left in the piles of debris. And to add further insult to injury, just because the tornado has come and gone doesn’t mean that there aren’t others looming in the coming days.
While the initial focus may be clean up, it’s important to know that other areas of the region may be affected in the coming weeks. Residents in areas where tornados and natural disasters have occurred should watch out for downed power lines, fallen or ready-to-fall trees, piles of unknown materials of debris, sinkholes and abnormalities in the environment in the time period following a natural disaster. Municipalities are charged with restoring power in affected areas, and clearing up downed trees and debris for safer roads. Residents in those areas should be aware that sudden movements, traffic and changes in weather can impact what’s left behind.
Despite countless warnings, those in the areas affected by natural disasters often carry on with normal duties up until the time the disaster occurs. They drive through flooded washes; they don’t evacuate areas when advised to do so; they fail to take shelter in their homes or prepare for what might be looming. You can be one of the fortunate ones by listening to warnings and heeding the advice of professionals and officials. In the aftermath, when you see downed trees and power lines in your area, be sure you take the following precautions:
- Never try to move a downed tree or power line.
- Stay away from any standing water near a downed tree or power line.
- Report a downed tree or power line immediately.
- If your vehicle is hit by a downed tree or power line, try to call for help immediately rather than trying to get out of the vehicle and moving it yourself, particularly if you are in a vehicle where you must stay away from any metal parts.
With the frequent incidents of natural disasters, taking as much care before, during and after will aid your chances of survival and help prevent injury. If you have been injured, or lost your home, car or family due to a natural disaster, you should contact a legal firm who can assist you in filing your claim and seeking the compensation you deserve.