NORTH CAROLINA – Some people around North and South Carolina are slowly starting to pick up the pieces after Florence.

Here is what you need to know before lifting a finger. 


The CDC says to toss away food that may have come in contact with flood water or storm water. If items have an unusual color, smell or texture, do not eat them. Even if the food tastes, smells or looks fine, it could still make you sick. If you have doubts, do not consume it.


Germs and toxic chemicals could be lurking in your water after a natural disaster. To kill germs, the CDC suggests residents boil their water for at least one minute if instructed by officials. Using bottled water is also advised since boiling it does not remove all possible toxic chemicals. Do not consume or use tap water unless you are sure it is safe.


The CDC suggests residents turn off the power at the main breaker and contact an electrician to check the device before using it. They say if your power is out, use flashlights instead of candles to prevent a fire. Never use gas or coal-burning equipment inside closed areas like your home, basement or garage even if a door is open to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.


Be sure to use insect repellent with DEET or Picaridin to protect yourself while outdoors from mosquitoes that can carry disease. Along with mosquitoes, be sure to not attract rodents with dirty dishes or with food that has gone bad. Snakes may also be lurking around in flood water or under debris.  If you see a stray or dead animal, report it to your local health department or by calling 911.


The Federal Emergency Management Agency advises renters and property owners to report losses immediately to an insurance carrier or agent. To prepare for inspection, make sure the property is safe to enter and take as many photos and videos of your damaged property as possible. Keep note of items’ make, model and serial number.


Stay up to date on the clean-up and aftermath of Florence: