First Steps After a Hurricane Passes Through…

hurricane damaged homeAs Hurricane Michael approached the Florida Panhandle in October of 2018, voluntary or mandatory evacuation orders were issued for 22 counties in the storm’s path. During this typical hurricane scenario, millions packed up and took refuge in a safer locale. After the storm passed, these same people returned to face uncertain conditions and put their lives back together again.

If you find yourself among those advised to leave, authorities urge you to observe all directives and evacuate to recommended safe regions, ASAP. When you return, here are some basic safety tips to follow:

Don’t Go Home …

… until local authorities have issued an All Clear to return. Accompanying dangers such as flooding and unsafe road conditions may still exist. Be patient, hunker down and wait until you get the official word.

Inspect Before Entering

Look through windows to assess the interior of the house for unsafe conditions such as indoor flooding, structural collapse and other threats. Before going in, don appropriate safety clothing such as gloves, goggles and a breathing mask.

Beware Of Electrical Hazards

Do not enter a flooded house if electrical power is still live or if you are in doubt whether it is or not. Don’t attempt to reach the electrical panel yourself to turn off power if it is in a flooded part of the house. Discontinue attempts to enter the house until a professional electrician has turned off power.

Use Your Nose

Be alert for the pungent odor of leaking natural gas. Leave the house immediately if you smell it and call the gas company or a plumber. Also, if you smell raw sewage odors, do not step into standing water. Wear protective clothing and eye/breathing protection.

Call Your Insurer

Most insurance companies process claims on a first come–first served basis. Officially report damage as soon as it is possible to do so. Action to remediate hurricane water damage and accompanying mold contamination should begin within 48 hours of your return, if possible.

Document The Damage

Before attempting salvage or clean-up work yourself, take extensive photographs of all damage to the premises as it exists now.

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