The official start of hurricane season isn’t until June 1st, yet we’ve already had a brush with the first named storm of 2020’s Hurricane Season. Hampton Roads only saw some rain and windy conditions as Arthur pushed out to sea, but he served as a good reminder to be ready. Being prepared before the storm is, of course, important; but knowing what to do AFTER a storm is just as important. If you fall victim to storm damage this season, Hatchett Design Remodel wants you to know what to do next.
If one of this year’s named storms forces you to evacuate, stay tuned to local news channels for updates on when it’s safe to return home.
Upon returning to your home, be very cautious. Plan to return during daylight hours to reduce risk. If you encounter downed power lines, do not drive over them. Do not drive through water, especially if there are downed power lines present. Even if there are no power lines, there is a high likelihood of hazardous debris or sink holes that you can’t see.
Avoid walking through flood waters without protective clothing, such as hip waders. Flood water is contaminated and may lead to illness or disease. For this reason, do not allow children to play in flood waters.
Do not use matches (or an open flame of any kind) in storm ravaged areas until you are certain that potentially damaged gas lines have been checked and/or repaired. If you smell gas upon entering your home, turn off the main if possible, open the windows and leave the building. Then report it to your gas company.
If your home floods, do not turn the power back on. Severely damaged homes are not structurally sound. Use extreme caution when inspecting your property.
Fallen trees may have brought power lines down with them. If such a tree has fallen on your home, do not enter the house until work crews remove the power lines.
Contact your insurance company as soon as possible. Once you receive the claim forms from your insurer, fill them out and submit them immediately. While you wait for the forms, prepare a list of all damage and document it with photos or video. Better yet, keep damaged items until the claims adjuster visits your home.
If your home in uninhabitable, keep records and receipts of all emergency living accommodations. Most insurance policies cover these expenses.
During clean up, be sure to wear protective clothing, like goggles, boots, heavy duty work gloves, and hard hats, if possible. Manage tasks so not to overexert yourself during this process. This will be a very trying time, both emotionally and physically. Be sure to pace yourself and get regular rest.
When you’re ready to rebuild, work with your contractor to design and build a storm-resistant structure.
All of us at Hatchett Design Remodel sincerely hope you never need this information, but know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Most importantly, keep yourself and your family safe!