After a big storm, expect utilities and services to be disrupted. Here's what you need to know:
Pile debris as neatly and as close to the street as you can. But if you can't identify it, don't touch it. Keep debris from piling up around utility poles; repairs may be delayed if pathways are impeded. Take care in handling debris; wear thick gloves, boots and goggles. Try to avoid using a chain saw unless you are experienced using one.
Your cable TV service will be out as long as you have no power. If cable service is not restored once power is back on, call your cable company.
Call your local trash hauler to find out when pickup will resume. Meanwhile, double-bag all garbage in plastic bags and keep the bags in covered containers. Bag or box items such as broken parts of windows, doors and mirrors separately for safe handling. Spray the insides of the containers with insect repellent to control pests. If the smell becomes unbearable, find a neighbor with a pickup truck who can haul the garbage to a central collection point. Or, ask a hurricane volunteer from outside the area to take a few sacks of trash back home.
Avoid open flames and sparks, and call the fire department or your gas company if you smell or suspect leaking gas.
Call your local phone company to report problems and schedule repairs. Be patient; it may take a while. Cordless phones won't work if the electricity is off, so it's a good idea to keep a corded phone in your home. It will work in the event power is out but phone lines are open.
Cell-phone service can be spotty after a storm. However, text messages often go through even when voice connections can't be made.