Hurricanes, floods and tornadoes are not inevitable but, as a homeowner, you need to have a plan of action to deal with events beyond your control. A little preparation now will help you respond with the least amount of stress and the quickest return to normal after the storm.
The Mindset For Recovery
The one thing that makes the most difference in how you respond to disaster is preparation. If you do have some warning it will give you time to find safety and that must be an absolute priority for you and your family. Once the danger has passed you will face the daunting task of cleaning up.
When the scale of the disaster is at the level experienced in the wake of Hurricane Sandy professional help will be slow in coming. Here are a few things that you should be ready to do after a storm.
Get Dried Out
The highest priority is to dry out all water damage as rapidly as possible. Remove the materials that have soaked up water such drywall and insulation. You need to get the air circulating and ventilating to remove humidity to minimize the risk of toxic mold and mildew.
Use water and disinfectants such as bleach to clean up after the floodwater has been drained. Unfortunately, just because it is dry does not mean it is safe; the water may have contained sewerage or other contaminants.
Get The Lid Back On
Survey and seal your roof. Inspect carefully for water damage and leaks. If there is significant damage try to get advice from a roofing contractor; the key is to get the roof watertight as soon as possible to prevent leaks that will further damage your home before you can put it right.
Likewise, you will need to clear up broken glass and board up any shattered windows. Safety, security and control of access are the objectives here.
Gather Up The Wreckage
Remove wreckage and debris for around your property. Bushes and shrubs collect debris like a comb collects loose hair so you may have to prune them back severely to clear them out and to help them to regrow. The most challenging part of this will likely be large branches and whole trees that have been uprooted in the storm; you may wish to consult a tree surgeon to know how to remove tree trunks safely and efficiently.
This Too Shall Pass
Good documentation is critical to making a solid claim against your insurance. Take pictures of the damage beginning as soon as you set to dealing with the damage. With the age of the Internet and mobile devices it is much easier than in the past to create detailed records.
Finally, even if it is severe damage remember that it will be put right eventually. A little thought ahead of time will prepare you for the worst if it should happen. In any case, like the insurance policy that covers the repairs to you home, let’s hope that you never need it.