Recent reports of Floridians in the Panhandle being injured while removing debris or making repairs have recovery officials urging caution and restraint when cleaning and restoring damaged homes, businesses or property.
Local health officials report an increase in hand, neck, shoulder and knee injuries, and stress, heat and exhaustion cases from people over-exerting themselves and worrying in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan.
Disaster recovery experts recommend home and business owners use professional contractors to perform services such as tree removal, roof and other home repairs. Florida’s Disaster Contractors Network, www.dcnonline.org, provides information on contractors licensed to work in the state.
“Only residents trained to use chain saws and other power tools to remove debris and make repairs should do so,” said Craig Fugate, state coordinating officer. “Floridians should take care not to hurt themselves and others, but seek professionals to perform services in a safe manner.”
FEMA has published a handbook, “Are You Ready? A Guide to Citizen Preparedness,” on how to prepare for and recover from disasters. The book can be read or copied on-line at www.fema.gov/areyouready/.
Other Internet sites offering safety advice on disaster recovery include the American Red Cross at www.redcross.org/services.
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