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After the Storm: Protecting Your Home When Severe Weather StrikesSeptember 21st, 2020 by
Extreme weather can be a danger to your home no matter where you live. Making sure you are prepared for home emergencies, including those that arise from extreme weather events, can help you know how to respond if it happens and how to help you recover as quickly as possible after.
Emergency Preparedness Is Key to Success
Experiencing an extreme weather event can be a frightening time. You and your family’s safety are of paramount concern. It is important to take the proper precautions ahead of time to protect the people and pets in your household, as well as your valuables and your home.
Safeguarding your home and preparing your family are crucial severe weather preparedness measures. Have an emergency exit plan and make sure everyone in your family knows it. Also find out where the emergency shelters are in your neighborhood and agree to meet there in case anyone is separated during an emergency, having a designated meeting place can help you reunite quickly.
Invest in a fire and water-safe box and keep your home insurance policy, other important papers and digital media in it. If the time to evacuate comes you can bring the box and have access to your important information, and if you can’t access it before you evacuate you will most likely be able to locate it after the emergency has passed.
Having this important information at your fingertips will help when the time comes to deal with the impacts after the storm has passed.
Severe Weather Damage Assessment
Taking stock of the damage after the emergency has passed is often overwhelming. Before you begin, make sure that it is safe to do so. If you required emergency services assistance or had to evacuate, officials will let you know when you can return to your property. Do not do so before you are given the all-clear.
1. Check Interior for Water Damage
Hurricanes and heavy thunderstorms can lead to significant water damage. Water damage that is not dealt with properly can lead to health and safety concerns. If you have a basement or crawl space, check for flooding, and also inspect your walls and ceilings for indications of water damage due to a leaky roof.
2. Inspect Roof and Gutters for Damage
Your roof can sustain heavy damage from just about every type of severe weather event. If roof repairs are not done quickly, cascading issues can result. If you can, hire a professional to climb up on the roof and perform a comprehensive inspection.
It is important to check your gutters as well. Be sure that they are intact all the way around your house, with no bent or missing segments. During a storm, it is possible for a lot of debris to fall on your roof and then into your gutters. Make sure they are clear of leaves, limbs, asphalt granules and anything else that might clog them.
3. Examine Windows for Breakage
Windows are another vulnerable structural component of your house. Be mindful of the potential for glass shards on the ground and inside your home from broken panes. Check for cracks or holes that weaken the integrity of your window. You also want to make sure that the frames did not get damaged from a severe weather event.
4. Test HVAC System for Functionality
Lightning strikes and flooding can damage your HVAC system, so you want to ensure that it is working properly. Before you test the system, turn it completely off, first at the thermostat and then at the circuit breaker. You can immediately switch the breaker back on, but then wait for a half-hour before you turn the system back on at the thermostat. Even if nothing happens when everything is back on, have the system checked by a professional to be sure.
Restoration and Repair
After your home assessment is complete, don’t wait to call in local professionals to do any work that you are unable to complete yourself. Water or fire remediation services will likely be your first step for extensive damage, or you may need an electrician or plumber for smaller repairs. Make sure you contact contractors who come with recommendations, are fully licensed and insured, and be sure to get multiple written estimates before making a choice.
Keep in mind that local contractors may be dealing with many of the same home emergencies you are, and that their time and the resources they need to complete your repairs may be limited.