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Post-hurricane risks: How to help your communities

Fire departments can definitely make a difference by spreading prevention-related messages

Editor's note: After two people were left dead, apparently poisoned by carbon monoxide from generators that were providing power to homes left without electricity by Tropical Storm Irene, Chief Adam K. Thiel gives his thoughts below.

As this story demonstrates, even though Hurricane Irene has now departed our shores, members of affected communities are still at great risk while they continue dealing with flooding, power outages, and storm-inflicted damage.

Beyond maintaining responders' personal vigilance, and getting ready for the next potential storm, fire departments can definitely make a difference by spreading prevention-related messages.

While trained firefighters might take generator safety and other basic safety measures for granted, the average citizen is likely unfamiliar with portable power equipment.

Most folks are also unaccustomed to dealing with a situation where their normal environment has been substantially changed.

Although response and recovery efforts continue in many places, now is definitely the time to talk about safely using cooking equipment, generators, chainsaws, etc.

It's also important to discuss candle safety, carbon monoxide exposure, and the dangers posed by floodwaters.

After all...Hurricane Katja is already on the way...

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