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Plan & Prepare

Family Preparedness: Hurricanes:
Returning Home AFTER a Hurricane


If you have evacuated, return home only after authorities advise it is safe to do so. Keep tuned to your local radio and TV stations and monitor social media for recovery information.

  • Avoid downed and sagging power lines. Report them immediately to the Power Company, police or fire department.
  • Be alert for driving restrictions. Avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges and roadways.
  • Enter your home with caution. Follow directions provided by public safety officials.
    • Beware of snakes, insects and other animals driven to higher ground by floodwater.
    • Open windows and doors to ventilate and dry your home.
    • Do not use candles or open flames indoors. Use a flashlight to inspect for damage.
    • Check refrigerated foods for spoilage. More information here:
      Keeping Food Safe During an Emergency [USDA Web Site]
    • Use telephone only for emergency calls.
  • Inspect the utilities in your home. Click here for contact information for utilities all across the state: Utility Info [NJ Board of Public Utilities Web Site]
    • Check for gas leaks - If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and quickly leave the building. Turn off the gas at the outside main valve if you can. Call the gas company from a neighbor's home. If you turn off the gas for any reason, it must be turned back on by a professional.
    • Look for electrical system damage - If you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell hot insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If you have to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician first for advice.
    • Check for sewage and water line damage - If you suspect sewage lines are damaged avoid using the toilets and call a plumber. If water pipes are damaged, contact the water company and avoid water from the tap..
    • Take pictures of the damage for insurance claims, and contact your service agent.
  • Let a relative know you are back at home. Tell them how to get in touch with you, especially if phone service is out.
  • Monitor the radio, TV and social mediato learn how to apply for possible assistance, and to receivefurther official information.
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New Jersey Office of Emergency Management
P. O. Box 7068
Trenton, NJ 08628


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