What to do AFTER a severe storm


The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) encourages all Californians to be prepared for what follows disasters.  

Californians know how important it is to be ready before a disaster, but knowing what to do after the disaster strikes is just as important.  

In the coming months, California is anticipating an El Niño year, which could result in above-normal precipitation and storms. As you prepare for this weather, keep these important tips in mind for post-storm safety:  

Stay Informed 

  • Listen to local authorities for updated information regarding evacuations and road closures.  
  • Check your local utility provider for updates regarding any power outages and projected restoration.  
  • Before a storm hits, make sure to visit CalAlerts.org to sign up for text, phone and email alerts from your county. 

Power Outages  

  • If your power goes out and you must use a generator, make sure to follow these safety tips 
  • When power is restored, be sure to throw away any food that has been exposed to temperatures 40 degrees or higher for two hours or more, or that has an unusual odor, color or texture. If the power is out for more than a day, discard any medication that should be refrigerated, unless the drug’s label says otherwise. 

Check for Property Damage 

  • After a storm, and only if it’s safe, it’s a good idea to take a look around your property for any damage that needs to be fixed.  
  • As you check your property, be sure to stay away from damaged structures and downed power lines.  

Watch Out for Debris and Power Lines 

  • Never go near downed power lines, as high voltage wires may still be active. Report downed power lines to your local utility emergency center and the police.  
  • Be cautious of downed trees—it’s best to have a professional remove trees and limbs that have fallen on your home or are blocking access.

Addressing Mold and Sewage Contamination  

  • After heavy rainfall or flooding, ensure your house is thoroughly dried to prevent mold growth 
  • If flooding occurred, assume your home must be treated for mold. Use appropriate equipment and follow safety guidelines.  
  • If sewage contamination is suspected, take necessary precautions.  

Gas Leak Safety Measures  

  • If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve, ventilate the area and leave immediately.  
  • Once you turn off the gas, do not turn it back on yourself. Wait for the gas utility company to check for leaks and have the company restore your service.  

Preparation before a disaster can also help you get through the aftermath—check out these preparedness resources before the winter season: 

Taking precautions seriously can make a big difference in keeping yourself and your loved ones safe after a severe storm. Your safety should always be a top priority.