Skip to main content

What to Do After Hurricane Beryl

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) recommends using extra caution for coastal residents with flooded homes and electrical outages after Hurricane Beryl’s landfall.

Dangers like high water, downed electrical power lines, and broken gas mains are major safety threats after hurricanes.

When conditions allow, Texans are encouraged to check on senior or disabled neighbors and help if possible.

DSHS recommends taking the following actions after landfall.

General Safety and Returning Home

  • Wait for official word from state or local officials before returning home.
  • Don’t let anyone re-enter your home while flooded unless the main electrical switch has been turned off. Report electrical hazards to authorities.
  • Don’t allow children to play in or near flood water or storm drains.
  • Try to rest and conserve energy and avoid heat-related illness.
  • Never touch downed power lines or any objects that are in contact with them, including water. Downed power lines are a serious electrocution hazard.
  • Beware of unstable trees and limbs. Falling tree limbs are a major cause of injury and death following hurricanes.
  • Use battery-powered flashlights and lanterns instead of candles if you can.

Cleanup

  • Look out for broken glass and exposed nails when clearing debris. Seek medical attention for any puncture-type injuries.
  • Wash hands often. This can prevent recontamination.
  • Wear sturdy shoes or boots, long pants, long sleeves, and gloves.
  • Disinfect children's toys with a solution of one cup bleach to five gallons of water.
  • Disinfect all furniture, woodwork, and other household surfaces in homes that have flooded.
  • Do not mix bleach with products that contain ammonia. This can cause toxic fumes.
  • Replace porous wallboard (from at least 12 inches above the waterline) that has been flood damaged. This can help prevent allergic reactions and other health problems caused by mold.
  • Click for Info on Hauling Hurricane-Related Debris to the Curb. Also check with your local government on what is available for you.

Water

  • Follow “boil water” alerts that may be issued by local water utilities or the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Do not drink water from unknown sources. People under boil water alerts and those with private wells that may have been contaminated by floodwater should use only bottled, boiled, or treated water until water has been tested and found safe.
  • Boil drinking water for at least one minute. You may disinfect water with chlorine or iodine (follow package directions). You may also use ordinary unscented household bleach. Use one-eighth teaspoon (about eight drops) per gallon of water. Sterilize water containers and drinking utensils. Useone teaspoon of household bleach per one gallon of water.

Food

  • Wash hands with soap and disinfected water before eating or handling food, after cleanup work, and after handling floodwater-contaminated items.
  • Discard any food that has been at room temperature for more than two hours or if it has an unusual odor or color. Thawed food from freezers may be safe for consumption or refreezing if it is still partially frozen. Do not eat food that has been in contact with floodwater.
  • Babies on formula should be given ready-to-feed formula or powdered formula prepared with bottled drinking water.

Carbon Monoxide Dangers

Responsive image
  • Generators should only be placed outdoors at least 20 feet away from buildings. They should never be operated in garages, even with the doors open.
  • Generators can pose an electrocution hazard. They should be kept dry and not operated in rain or under wet conditions. Also, generators should be turned off and left to cool down before refueling.
  • Gasoline-powered tools, camp stoves, and charcoal grills also produce carbon monoxide. They should never be used indoors.

Environmental Hazards

  • It is never safe to drive through water-covered roadways or around barricaded roads. Remember … Turn Around, Don’t Drown.
  • Return home in daylight for best visibility to be aware of any unsafe power sources, including downed power lines. Do not use lanterns or torches until after the premises are safe from gas leaks.
  • Don’t let anyone re-enter your home while flooded unless the main electrical switch has been turned off.
  • Standing water after floods is a breeding place for mosquitoes. Drain all standing water. Empty water from outdoor items like old tires, trash cans, and flowerpot bases. Protect yourself with insect repellent and wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Do not handle any wildlife. They are often injured in heavy rains and winds. Seek immediate treatment if bitten or injured by an animal. Beware of displaced pets.
  • Wear closed-toe shoes in post-flood areas to reduce the chances of punctures or cuts from nails and other sharp contaminated objects.

Medical

People with puncture wounds or cuts exposed to floodwater could be at risk of contracting tetanus. They may need to have a tetanus shot to prevent infection.


Responsive image

Other Resources and Information

After a hurricane, it’s normal to experience emotional distress. Allow yourself and family members time to grieve. Click here for resources to help you and your family deal with the aftermath of a disaster.

Stay Informed with Weather and Disaster Alerts

Get credible, lifesaving information during disasters. Stay informed by tuning into local radio and TV broadcasts.

Alerts and updates are also available from:

  • National Weather Service: Get weather updates by ZIP, city, or GPS location.
  • TDEM Twitter Feed: All-hazard emergency preparedness and disaster information from the Texas Division of Emergency Management.
  • CDC Emergency Twitter Feed: Critical information on your phone in real time.
  • FEMA Text Messages: You can use this message program in two ways: to receive regular safety tips and to search for open shelters and open disaster recovery centers.
  • Wireless Emergency Alerts: These are emergency messages sent by authorized government agencies through your mobile carrier.