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General info: What to do after a tornado

ALERT: Generator exhaust is toxic. Always put generators outside well away from doors, windows, and vents. Never use a generator inside homes, garages, crawlspaces, sheds, or similar areas. Carbon monoxide (CO) is deadly, can build up quickly, and linger for hours, even after the generator has been turned off.

Drinking water and food
If your water may not be safe, bring drinking water to a rolling boil for 1 minute to kill water-borne diseases.

  • Boiling drinking water
    To kill all major water-borne bacterial pathogens, bring water to a rolling boil for 1 minute. Boil 3 minutes at elevations above a mile (5280 ft, or 1600 meters).

  • Make sure older adults have enough water to drink. Older adults may feel thirsty less, and dehydration can be life threatening to an elderly person.

  • What to do about water from household wells after a flood. Do not turn on the pump - danger of electric shock. Do not drink or wash with water from the flooded well.

  • Keeping food safe during an emergency. Don't test spoiled food by tasting it! (

Pesticides, chemical and oil spills, and hazardous waste


  • What To Do With Disaster Debris - Disasters can generate tons of debris, including building rubble, soil and sediments, green waste (e.g., trees and shrubs), personal property, ash, and charred wood. Typical methods of recycling and solid waste disposal in sanitary landfills often cannot be applied to disaster debris because of the large volume of waste and reluctance to overburden existing disposal capacity



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