You made it through Hurricane Matthew: Now what?

(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.

Safety tips

  • 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:, 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.