Follow these steps provided by specialists with Mississippi State University's Extension Service when returning to storm damaged dwellings and beginning repairs and cleanup:
Turn off gas lines in the structure as soon as you arrive and make sure the power is off.
Check for structural damage before entering a damaged or flooded building. Look for sagging support beams in the attic or floor, and cracks in the walls, stucco, bricks, or foundation as evidence of shifting caused by the high winds or water.
Raise the windows to let out any gas fumes that may have leaked inside. Don't use a range, hot water tank, or any gas appliance until the gas company has checked the lines.
Use flashlights for lighting rather than candles or any flame. A flame could set off a fire if gas fumes are present.
Even if the structure is safe, there can still be danger lurking inside in the form of snakes or small animals which may have taken refuge from flooding.
After the area has been determined safe, make temporary repairs to prevent more damage.
Drink only bottled water or tap water that has been boiled a minimum of five minutes or treated with four to six drops of bleach per gallon of water. Stir the water to make sure the bleach is distributed before drinking.
Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. Check refrigerated and frozen foods if there has been a power outage. When in doubt, throw it out.
Foods in a full, free-standing freezer will remain frozen for about two days, one day if the freezer is half-full. Items that still contain ice crystals and feel "refrigerator- cold" can be refrozen.
Discard refrigerated foods if the power is out for more than four to six hours unless steps were taken ahead of time to turn the temperature to its coldest setting or ice was added to the refrigerator before the power outage. Discard any item that has risen to room temperature and has remained there for two or more hours.
Resist the urge to move around and see the damage done elsewhere. Standing water can carry deadly electrical currents from downed power lines.
STARKVILLE, Miss. – First responders and disaster experts know that good intentions can lay the foundations for disastrous conditions after hurricane winds and floods subside.
Through the Mississippi State University Extension Service, Anne Howard Hilbun conducts disaster response training for citizens and emergency workers. She is an instructor with the MSU Extension Center for Government and Community Development.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- After nearly 3 feet of rain in two days caused historic flooding and widespread damage in Louisiana and southwest Mississippi earlier this month, volunteers from Mississippi State University are assisting in relief efforts.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Mississippi State University leaders realized the importance of instituting a standardized response system to assist with all types of catastrophes that might strike the state.
Six months after Katrina, the MSU Extension Service Center for Government and Community Development began training university employees, as well as local emergency management officials, 911-call-center operators, and elected and appointed officials.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- In the hours immediately following Hurricane Katrina’s landfall, a team of Mississippi State University veterinarians specially trained to work with animals in disaster situations arrived at the state’s designated animal disaster relief shelter in Jackson.
While the Mississippi Animal Response Team’s immediate focus was to assist the Mississippi Board of Animal Health with assessing and managing the growing number of displaced animals, they also had other duties.
LOUISVILLE -- Disaster assessment teams with the Mississippi State University Extension Service are providing “boots on the ground” as agricultural landowners begin the process of recovering from the April 28 storms.
“These trained teams can assess immediate and long-term needs,” said Elmo Collum, a disaster response coordinator with the MSU Extension Service. “They may discover issues that need to be addressed immediately, such as an injured animal, or they may see things that will take weeks of effort, such as fence repair.”