One of the quirks of modern safety preparation and advanced storm warnings is that, while people still die in hurricanes in the U.S., many of the deaths occur after the storm has passed. And those deaths are often avoidable with just a little safety consciousness.

Hurricane Ike — the third costliest storm in U.S. history — is a good example of how you can die after the storm and how to avoid it. A study of the storm's impact in Texas determined the "majority of deaths were indirectly related to the hurricane."

I.E., most people died trying to recover from or prepare for the storm than were killed directly by the storm. Here's how not to be one of those people.

Death By Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

How it happens: A whopping 29% of people killed indirectly in Hurricane Ike were killed by carbon monoxide poisoning. How does this happen? People go out and buy gas-powered generators and don't know how to use them. They keep them too close to the house, or in a garage, and accidentally poison themselves and their family.

Is a fully-charged iPad worth your life?

How to avoid it: If you do own or buy a generator, follow the instructions and keep it far from an indoor space. Follow these tips.

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Death By Chainsaw Or Falling Limb

How it happens: For many people it's probably too late to trim trees in advance of Sandy, but it's a good reminder that you should keep trees close to your house professionally trimmed. People preparing for hurricanes have died, either by horrific chainsaw accidents or falling tree limbs. A boy was killed by such a limb in Texas before the storm.


How to avoid it: When possible, use a licensed and insured tree trimmer. If you feel capable of doing it yourself wear proper safety equipment, keep your chainsaw blade sharp, and work with a partner if possible. Follow these instructions.

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Death By Drowning While Surfing Or Swimming In A Storm

How it happens: Yo, dude, check out those great waves. Let's go for a swim/surf/windsurfing.


How to avoid it: Don't surf/swim/windsurf in a hurricane. Not only are you putting your life at risk, you're putting the lives of the people who have to come out and save your ass at risk.

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Death By Driving Into A Flood

How it happens: People often assume their cars are submersibles and they can drive into a flooded roadway. Sometimes, you can, but it's a risk not worth taking. Look at it this way, one foot of water moving at a normal speed adds 500 pounds of lateral force to a car. A foot of water also displace 1,500 pounds of a car's weight. Two feet of rushing water can therefore move just about any car or SUV.

How to avoid it: Turn around, don't drown.

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Death By Electrocution

How it happens: There are numerous ways this happens, including improper cords connected to a generator and keeping stuff plugged in during a flood. Also popular is walking into/driving over power lines.


How to avoid it: Follow typical, common sense guidelines to using electricity. Use properly grounded, waterproof cords outside. Stay away from downed power lines, even ones you think aren't powered. They can electrocute you or catch on fire (see above). Call the local utilities or local non-emergency number if you see one.

Do not try to plug your iPad into a downed power line. It won't work.

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Death By Fire

How it happens: Ohhhh it's dark, let's light some candles/use a camp stove inside/et cetera.


How to avoid it: During a storm use LED flashlights and equipment. Afterwards cook only outdoors using common sense. Follow these candle safety tips if you decide you need to use a candle.

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Death By Not Evacuating When You're Told To

How it happens: You're in an evacuation zone, you don't listen to instructions, you don't evacuate. While these don't count as indirect deaths, they are certainly avoidable. Local authorities like to tell people to write their social security numbers on their arms before the storm so they can identify the bodies of the deceased easily.

How to avoid it: Heed all evacuation warnings.

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