Risks to health, money come after storm

Sun Staff

The aftermath of Hurricane Isabel could bring potential health risks and possible financial scams, officials warned yesterday.

Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. said Marylanders should be aware of fraudulent home repair offers that might surface after the storm.

"In many cases, con artists travel state to state, disaster to disaster, looking for victims of storms," he said in a statement.

Homeowners who suffer damage should be wary of contractors who solicit door-to-door after a storm, especially those who say they will accept only cash or pressure the homeowner for an immediate decision.

Curran also warned of solicitations for phony relief efforts, especially from organizations that use names similar to those of well-known charities.

Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warned that many of the worst injuries associated with disasters occur when people return to their damaged homes.

In hard-hit areas, people should wear head protection and hard-toed shoes and refrain from touching downed power lines or entering unstable buildings.

Standing water could spur a resurgence of the mosquito population and related infections such as West Nile Virus, she said. People can protect themselves by wearing bug repellent and long sleeves and pants.

Gerberding also said homeowners should turn off central circuit breakers or house fuses if there is water anywhere near electric circuits. Power should not be restored until an electrician has inspected the wiring.

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