Did you know, typically more deaths occur after a storm than during? These deaths happen when people rush outside to survey the damage. When they come into contact with downed power lines or unstable trees injuries can occur. Follow these suggestions for staying safe after the storm:
After The Storm
Protect yourself. Use caution when entering a damaged building. If there is serious structural damage, contact building officials before entering. Report downed power lines or gas leaks to the utility companies and keep electricity turned off if the building has been flooded.
Protect your property. Take steps to protect your property from further damage. This could mean boarding up windows and salvaging undamaged items. Your insurance company can tell you what they will pay for regarding protection.
Report the loss as soon as possible. Contact your insurance agent or insurer as soon as you can. Provide a general description of the damage and have your policy number handy if possible. Write down the adjuster’s name, phone number and work schedule as soon as you have them.
Prepare a list. Keep damaged items or portions of them until the claim adjuster has visited, and consider photographing or videotaping the damage to document your claim. Prepare a list of damaged or lost items for your adjuster.
Keep receipts. If you need to relocate, keep records and receipts for all additional expenses. Most insurance policies cover emergency living arrangements.
Return claim forms. After your insurance company has been notified of your claim, they must send you the necessary claim forms within a certain number of days (time period varies by state). Fill out and return the forms as soon as possible. If you do not understand the process, be sure to ask questions and write down the explanation.
Cleanup. When starting the cleanup process, be careful, and use protective eye-wear and gloves. Adjusters may tell business owners to hire a professional cleaning service.
Build stronger next time. When you’re ready to start repairs or to rebuild, work with your contractor to make the new structure storm-ready.
Beware of debris. Storms with extensive rain and high winds, such as tropical storms and hurricanes, can cause severe damage and create hazardous conditions such as fallen trees, downed power lines, broken glass, construction debris, commercial and road signs. After the storm passes, residents should be extremely careful as they assess the damage and begin the clean-up.
Handle power outages safely. Power outages are common after storms and many residents and businesses rely on backup generators until power can be restored. While power generators are quite useful, they can also pose certain risks including fire, damage to electrical equipment, and even injury or death. Before using a generator, it’s important to understand the risks and take the necessary precautions.
If access to your water supply has been compromised, keep the following in mind. A normally active person needs about a gallon of fluid daily, from water and other beverages. However, individual needs vary, depending on age, health, physical condition, activity, diet and climate.
- Never ration drinking water unless ordered to do so by authorities. Drink the amount you need today and try to find more for tomorrow. Minimize the amount of water your body needs by reducing activity and staying cool.
- Drink water that you know is uncontaminated. If necessary, suspicious water, such as cloudy water from regular faucets or water from streams or ponds, can be used after it has been treated or boiled. If water treatment is not possible, put off drinking suspicious water as long as possible, but do not become dehydrated.
- Do not drink carbonated or caffeinated beverages instead of drinking water. Caffeinated drinks and alcohol dehydrate the body, which increases the need for drinking water.
- If you’re drinking water that has been contaminated you might develop a gastrointestinal disorder (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, etc.) from viruses, bacteria, or other microorganisms (germs) that may be in the water. You can also become ill from germs on your hands.
- To protect yourself, only drink bottled water. Also, bottled water must be used for brushing your teeth. Wash your hands carefully with soap and water and follow-up with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer after using the bathroom and before eating. If you do not have clean water to wash your hands, use an alcohol-based antibacterial hand sanitizer.