Returning to Your Home or Business
If an evacuation is ordered, residents should plan to be away from their homes or businesses within the Orange Beach city limits for no less than 48 hours after the storm passes. Local authorities will need time to ensure the streets are clear of debris, and safe from downed power lines and other deadly hazards. Alerts will be made via Alert Baldwin, 105.7 FM, the City of Orange Beach Facebook page, and this website when the bridge is reopened and re-entry zones are announced.
Before Entering Your Home
- Inspect your home carefully before entering.
- Walk carefully around the outside and check for loose power lines, gas leaks, and structural damage. If you have any doubts about safety, have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before entering.
- Keep a battery-powered radio with you so you can listen for emergency updates and news reports.
- Use a battery-powered flashlight to inspect a damaged home. Note: the flashlight should be turned on outside before entering - the battery may produce a spark that could ignite leaking gas, if present.
- Watch out for animals, use a stick to poke through debris.
- Use the phone only to report life-threatening emergencies.
- As you return home, watch for fallen objects, downed power lines, and weakened walls, bridges, roads, and sidewalks.
Do not enter if...
- You smell gas
- Floodwaters remain around the building
- Your home was damaged by fire and the authorities have not declared it safe
Going Inside Your Home
- Enter the home carefully and check for damage. Be aware of loose boards and slippery floors.
- Check for natural gas- If you smell gas or hear a hissing or blowing sound, open a window and leave immediately. Turn off the main gas valve from the outside, if you can. Call the gas company from a neighbor's residence. If you shut off the gas supply at the main valve, you will need a professional to turn it back on.
- Do not smoke or use oil, gas lanterns, candles, or torches for lighting inside a damaged home until you are sure there is no leaking gas or other flammable materials present.
- Check the electrical system for sparks, and broken or frayed wires unless you are wet, standing in water, or unsure of your safety. If possible, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If the situation is unsafe, leave the building and call for help. Do not turn on the lights until you are sure they're safe to use. You may want to have an electrician inspect your wiring.
- Check for cracks in the roof, foundation, and chimney. If it looks like the building may collapse, leave immediately.
- Check your appliances. If they are wet, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. Then unplug appliances and let them dry out. Have appliances checked by a professional before using them again. Also, have the electrical system checked by an electrician before turning the power back on.
- Check water and sewage systems. If pipes are damaged, turn off the main water valve. Check with local authorities before using any water; the water could be contaminated. Pump out wells and have the water tested by authorities before drinking. Do not flush toilets until you know that sewage lines are intact.
- Check your food and other supplies. Throw out all food and other supplies that you suspect may have become contaminated or come in contact with floodwater. When in doubt, throw it out! The USDA has created a comprehensive guide about food safety during emergencies.
- Open all cabinet doors. Be alert for objects that may fall.
- Clean up household chemical spills. Disinfect items that may have been contaminated by raw sewage, bacteria, or chemicals. Also, clean salvageable items.
- Call your insurance agent. Take pictures of damages. Keep good records of repair and cleaning costs.