What To Do After a Storm

What To Do After a Storm

Tips and Resources on Post-Hurricane Disaster Efforts

Mandatory evacuation orders are in effect for Jefferson County as Hurricane Laura blazes toward the region. Now is a good time to review your storm preparation plans and make any last minute updates.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash 2017.

|TIP| There’s still time to do some Hurricane Preparedness before Laura hits Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana. If you can, take the opportunity to do so right now.


Cleaning up after a disaster can mean facing a wide range of hazards, from contaminated water, to animals and insects, to splintered wood and sagging ceilings.

At a minimum, everyone who helps with clean up and repair should wear long pants, long sleeves, sturdy shoes, and work gloves. They may also need specialized equipment such as an N95 mask if dealing with mold or potential asbestos hazards. Read more at RedCross.

|TIP| Be vigilant and mindful that COVID19 is still an ever-present concern. It may impose limitations on if/when resources for aid/assistance are available after the storm.


When it is safe to do so, walk around your property to assess the damages. Take photos and notes of any physical damage from storm debris and wind force, as well as water damage from flooding.

Once you have a clear idea of the damages, then you can work on a plan for tackling the cleanup process. Determine if you will need special equipment, such as a chainsaw or roll-off dumpster for debris.

You should also make arrangements for getting additional help or possibly finding a team of helpers for moving heavy or bulky items and objects.

|TIP| Some water facilities such as sewage may be interrupted after the storm. If you are in need of portable toilet or hand-washing stations, be sure to make arrangements in time for cleanup work to begin.

Photo by CDC on Unsplash 2020.


Cleaning up your home can be a big job. Be sure to pace yourself and remember to take breaks when you need to. Stay hydrated. You should also prioritize which tasks to handle first based on how important they are.

|TIP| Check out CDC Hurricane Safety Tips and Resources for more information.

Be sure to open windows and doors when there has been water damage or is risk of mold. This is also an important step if you are using harsh chemicals such as bleach, which should never be used in a closed space.

Beware of electrical hazards while you work and steer clear of any power lines that have been damaged. Do not work if you smell natural gas and instead contact emergency services.


Photo by Chris Gallagher on Unsplash 2019.

Now that we’ve given you some handy post-storm advice, here are some important and potentially life-saving reminders about cautions during and immediately after a hurricane.

  • Most importantly, EVACUATE if you are able. Make it a priority.
  • If you can’t, remember to stay indoors during the storm and away from doors and windows. Do not go outside during a storm.
  • DON’T get in the water or talk on the phone, as both make you prone to lightning injury even inside your home.
  • Turn Around, Don’t Drown! Especially when driving. Each year, more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other thunderstorm related hazard. Read the warning signs here.
  • Flooding after a storm will likely persist for days. Please AVOID floodwater as it is often full of harmful debris & dangerous bacteria.
  • The National Hurricane Center projects that Laura is expected to produce life-threatening storm surge*, extreme winds, and flash flooding over eastern Texas and portions of Louisiana.

*Storm Surge is the rising of the sea level due to the low pressure, high winds, and high waves associated with a hurricane as it makes landfall. The storm surge can cause significant flooding and cost people their lives if they’re caught unexpected.

|TIP| You can listen for weather updates on LOCAL radio station info even on your Android or iOS devices with apps like TuneIn and Simple Radio (both are free).

Turning Old PPE to Biofuel

Turning Old PPE to Biofuel

Currently, PPE is being disposed of at unprecedented levels. It is becoming a significant environmental threat which everyone should pay attention to.

“There is always a need for alternative fuels or energy resources to meet our energy demands. The challenges of PPE waste management and increasing energy demand could be addressed simultaneously by the production of liquid fuel from PPE kits.”

Dr. Bhawna Yadav Lamba, co-author*

One of the inevitable side effects of this global pandemic and increased use of PPE is the TRASH from it. With more people using PPE, it’s unsurprising to learn that researchers are looking at ways to make this garbage useful again – to find it a second life.

“PPE” stands for personal protective equipment, like surgical and medical face masks, shields, and gloves. Photo by Mier Chen on Unsplash 2020.

Likely, even those of us who don’t keep up with sustainability efforts have noticed the massive return to single-use plastics and throw-away products. In an effort to keep things clean from virus spread, we’ve ended up with a lot more waste as a side effect.

This isn’t all bad, as we can talk about another time, but today we’re talking breakthroughs! We want to share the news about a recent scientific study which focuses on converting this disposed product into something we always need: fuel!

Photo by Anshu A on Unsplash 2020.

But, why does a “little” more trash even matter right now??

Well, once these plastic materials are disposed of, they end up in landfills or oceans in the environment. Since their natural degradation is difficult at regular temperatures, they need DECADES to decompose.

Recycling these polymers requires both physical and chemical methods, but they’are not widespread enough for common use. Not to mention, we have a global recycling crisis right now!

Normally, “reduce, reuse, and recycle” are the three pillars of sustainable development. Those would help to prevent the unnecessary discharge of these plastics into the environment. Unfortunately, it’s difficult and/or impossible to reduce, reuse, or recycle in a global pandemic event.

Photo by visuals on Unsplash 2020.

Tackling Two Problems At Once

Thankfully, there are researchers at the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies (UPES) in India who tackled this very pressing priority. They assert that billions of items of disposable PPE can be converted from its polypropylene state into liquid biofuels – which are known to be on par with standard fossil fuels.

Co-author of the study, Dr. Bhawna Yadav Lamba says this process is among the most promising and sustainable methods of recycling compared with incineration and landfill.

Pyrolysis is the most commonly used chemical method whose benefits include the ability to produce high quantities of bio-oil which is easily biodegradable,” she states.

Photo by Tonik on Unsplash 2020.

“Presently, the world is focusing to combat COVID-19, however, we can foresee the issues of economic crisis and ecological imbalance also”

-Dr. Sapna Jain, lead author of the Biofuels article. Quoted at Phys.org.

What do YOU think about this news??? Drop us a line on Facebook or leave a ❤️️ to our Instagram. We would LOVE to hear from your perspective!

If you want a more in-depth look at the technical aspects and science behind this process and what it all means, you can visit Popular Mechanics or SciTechDaily.

You can read even more about the study in detail here or read the original peer-reviewed scientific article by Sapna Jain, Bhawna Yadav Lamba, Sanjeev Kumar and Deepanmol Singh here through the Taylor & Francis journal Biofuels, 2020.

* – The article this blog post discusses is titled: “Strategy for repurposing of disposed PPE kits by production of biofuel: Pressing priority amidst COVID-19 pandemic”, 3 August 2020.

Hurricane Season is Here: Are You Prepared?

Hurricane Season is Here: Are You Prepared?

Tropical Storm Cristobal has given us a timely reminder of the 2020 Hurricane Season’s arrival. Starting June 1 and lasting through November 30, the long Season is best weathered when everyone has a Preparedness Plan in place.

“So how do I get a Plan? Where do I start?”

One place where there are a ton of resources available is from National sources like Ready.gov/hurricanes and the National Weather Service, as well as local options like City of Beaumont with specific details on Evacuation Routes, Assistance Resources, FAQs, and a lot more.

It can be overwhelming to looks at too much information at once, so here are some basic tips that can help you get started. Please remember to check National and Local resources periodically and keep your plans updated.

Source: National Weather Service

GET STARTED by talking with your family, friends, and neighbors about your area’s specific risks (for example, if you live in an area that frequently floods) and asking some basic preparedness questions:

What evacuation route is best? Will we shelter-in-place if there is an optional evacuation? For a mandatory evacuation, where is our out of town destination? Who is our non-local emergency contact? Do we need an Emergency Kit or a “Go” bag? What about our Pets?

As you answer these questions, you can write down your Plan or fill in a ready-made form such as those from FEMA here. Now is also a good time to think about how you can safeguard and protect vital papers (such as identity documents, medical records, and financial/legal forms).

One important thing to remember is to TALK through your plan with children ahead of time and PRACTICE the plan with your household.

If you can, assign certain family members a specific task. For example, have one person be responsible for the evacuation kit and another loading items into the vehicle. Assign these tasks in advance and periodically review them with each family member. Not only does this ensure the evacuation process goes smoothly, having specific tasks can help calm nerves during a stressful time.

Image Source: Germania Insurance

Lastly, remember to keep advised of current CDC guidelines related to the COVID19 pandemic as these could affect your Hurricane Preparedness Plans. The CDC actually has some helpful information about preparing for Hurricane Season during this pandemic, to make things a bit easier.