There is plenty of attention given to steps to take before an anticipated storm to reduce the potential for damage and the need to file an insurance claim.
But, less focus is on steps to take AFTER a dangerous storm to reduce personal injury and property damage. A recent study after a tornado in Illinois confirmed that 50% of physical injuries were suffered after the storm when completing post-storm tasks.
Any bad storm can damage power lines, electrical systems and gas lines that put may put you and your property at risk of fire, explosion, or electrocution.
Here are 10 examples of steps to take after a bad storm:
- Confirm the storm has completely passed before attempting to leave your safe area.
- If you lost power:
- Don't drink tap water until you know for sure it isn't contaminated from flooding.
- Wear thick-soled closed-toe shoes/boots if you walk outside to assess damage
- Avoid utility lines and other electrical wiring that are fallen/open.
- If you hear a hissing noise or smell gas, open a window, move your family out of the house, and call the fire department and utility company immediately.
- Avoid walking in flooded areas because there could be unseen hazards you could fall victim to (washed away roadways, debris, illness-causing microorganisms, etc.)
- Don't drive through flooded areas unless absolutely necessary because of your inability to see the structural integrity of roadways and/or getting carried away by moving floodwater.
- If your roof sustained damage, if feasible tarp any open area(s) to contain the extent of water damage.
- Document damage caused by the storm with photos/video to confirm destruction for your insurance company.
As you can see, it's just as important to know what to do AFTER a bad storm as preparing ahead of time to stay safe, prevent further property damage, and prevent or minimize an insurance claim.
Once you've been able to assess damage, contact your insurance company to initiate the insurance claims process. If you have any questions, speak directly with your insurance agent who can guide you on what to expect.