After a hurricane

 If you evacuated, return home when local officials tell you it is safe. Officials on the scene are your best source of information on accessible areas and passable roads.

 Venture outdoors carefully. Power lines are likely to be down; be careful where you step. Keep your pets inside as much as possible.

 Help a neighbor who may require special assistance -- infants, elderly people and people with disabilities.

 Stay away from disaster areas; don't sight-see.

 Do not drive through a flooded area. Approach every intersection as a four-way stop. Avoid weakened bridges and washed-out roads.

 If possible, let friends, relatives and your employer know you are safe.

 Keep all calls, land-line and wireless, to a minimum to allow emergency calls to get through. If you hear a fast busy signal, phone use may be at capacity. The Web may also be affected.

 Find out if your water supply is safe.

 Watch out for wildlife and insects that have been driven to higher ground.

 Local, state and federal agencies will respond as quickly as possible, but count on being self-sufficient for at least three days.

 If you do not have the supplies you need, go to a relief site as quickly as possible. Public, private and volunteer agencies may be able to get you water, food, medical attention and shelter.

 Monitor local media for vital information such as recovery facilities, insurance company field offices and shelter if you need it.

 Keep all receipts for items you buy before power is restored. Your insurance or governmental assistance may cover some expenses.

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