(CNN)If you are in the areas where hundreds of thousands of people have lost power because of Hurricane Matthew, these tips are for you.
- Return to your home only when local officials say it is safe.
- Drive only when necessary and watch for hazards such as debris or standing water.
- Avoid drinking or preparing foods with tap water until you are sure it's not contaminated.
- Watch the food in your fridge. Here are some guidelines on when to toss it.
- Use flashlights in the dark. Do not use candles, which could pose a fire risk.
- Watch out for debris and keep away from loose or dangling power lines and report them to the power company.
- Avoid walking through floodwater.
- Check your home for damage. Take pictures for insurance purposes.
- Try to distract your kids and give them some extra attention. If there's no power, make it an adventure. Your kids sense your mood.
- Don't let your pets drink floodwater, which may be contaminated.
- Keep a close eye on your animals. They can step on sharp debris or eat items that could make them sick.
How to get internet access when the power is out
- Use your smart phone as an internet hotspot to allow other devices to connect.
- Save your phone's battery. Turn your brightness down, close unused apps and try power-saving mode.
- The Federal Communications Commission offers these helpful hints on how to communicate during a storm.
Where to get important information and updates
- Check the CNN app for constant updates and live coverage.
- Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio.
- Watch or listen to your local news.
Let friends and family know you're safe
- Text or use social media tools, such as Twitter or update your status using Facebook's Safety Check feature.
- Register on the American Red Cross Safe and Well website: RedCross.org/SafeandWell, or call 1-866-GET-INFO if internet is unavailable.
If you're OK, think of others
- Check on your neighbors, the elderly and those in need.
- A shelter in your area might need volunteers.
- Bring spare power strips with you in case others need them.
- If you are a lucky one with the power still on, let people know and invite them to come over and charge up.
- Not in the storm's path but want to help? CNN's Impact Your World shares how to help those affected.