Tend to yourself and to immediate danger—and then start planning your comeback party
When a hurricane, tornado, or other devastating storm comes through, there are always varying levels of disruption. For some, it’s little more than a power outage while others may have their home completely destroyed.
Most of us are somewhere in between, and while there are plenty of guides out there about what to do after a hurricane, here’s what our Pros recommend when it comes to recovering from property damage.
Before you consider your home and property, the life and health of you and your family are the top priority. Ensure any injuries that require more than basic first aid are treated by qualified medical personnel before you start to worry about your home.
Cut the Power
The very first thing you should do to protect your home after a storm cuts the power to the house is flip the main breaker off. That’s assuming you lose power, of course. The power restoration process can result in multiple quick power surges that can damage appliances and even start fires.
Look for clues like street lights and less noise from generators to let you know when power is on before flipping the breaker back.
Or just check your meter if its digital to see if it’s back on.
Trees come down in hurricanes and tornadoes all the time, and sometimes in ice storms over the winter. If a tree or other large object falls on your home, assess the damage to make sure that the wall or entire structure won’t collapse.
If you’re unsure, stay with friends or family until you can have a professional check it out. This is not an area you should leave to chance.
If you’re pretty handy, you can do a lot of minor repairs yourself. But some repairs need a Pro’s touch. Some of the temporary repairs you can make include boarding up a broken window and tacking down a tarp over roof damage until a professional contractor can make the permanent repair.
Hire a Contractor
When you have damage that requires a professional contractor, it can be difficult for you and your family since all you really want is to get back to normal.
Unfortunately, post-storm damaged homes are prime targets for unlicensed, uninsured contractors. If you’re in a state that requires contractors to carry a license, resist the urge to get the quick fix and check references before hiring someone to do the work.
A quality contractor will quickly offer his or her credentials and the best will already have references for you to consider. Those that are willing to help you navigate the insurance claims process are worth every penny.
Without a doubt, know what the cost of repairs will be and have a copy of the contractor’s license and insurance information in a file before you sign anything!
Get Back to the Routine of Life
When Hurricane Irma came through, I was without power for more than a week. When it came back on, you could hear shouts of joy and spontaneous clapping for the linemen that worked so hard to get us back up and running.
It’s the first sign that things are getting back to normal after a storm. There will be more repairs to make and cleanup to do, but the time will pass and you’ll get back to normal.
Plan a cookout or movie night so you have something to look forward to and be sure to invite all the neighbors you got to know along the way.
This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list of what to do after a hurricane. There are hundreds of other little things that take place. But from the standpoint of getting your home back in shape and ensuring the repairs are done properly, it’s what our Pros recommend.
Hopefully, you never have to worry about it. If you ever do, you’re already a big step ahead by knowing what to expect.
—This article, which first appeared on ProToolReviews.com, was written by Kenny Koehler, the managing editor. They have no idea we are reprinting it, so please do not tell them.