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10/31/2012 - Returning home after an evacuation order

Homeowners may want to contact an inspector if they think their home may have been damaged.

Up and down the east coast, mandatory evacuation orders were issued by state and local authorities as Hurricane Sandy barreled toward the coast.

As people return to their homes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers the following safety advice.

Once arriving at the property, individuals should carefully enter the home. A home may appear undamaged, but only a certified inspector or engineer can be sure. These professionals should be contacted, especially if unusual noises are heard.

While property owners have their ears piqued, they should also be extra sensitive to smells. Flooding can lead to broken seals on supply lines, potentially resulting in gas leaks. If a scent is detected, the main gas valve should be turned off and owners should leave the structure immediately.

Another concern is food, since electricity outages may cause refrigerated foods to spoil. Throw away perishable foods (including meat, poultry, fish, eggs and leftovers) that have been above 40°F for 2 hours or more. Thawed food that contains ice crystals or is 40°F or below can be refrozen or cooked. In addition, keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible while the power is out.

For more hurricane safety tips from the CDC, click here.

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