Has your property suffered damage after a storm? The immediate aftermath of a hurricane, tropical storm, tornado, or other natural disaster can be an emotional and challenging time. However, the steps you take now will help protect you and your home, as well as make recovery smoother. Below are a few of these important first steps.
1. Put Safety First
First and foremost, always think about your safety and that of others before you handle anything relating to storm damage.
Always be on the lookout for hanging and overhead dangers, such as broken branches and compromised sections of roofs and ceilings or second-story flooring. Avoid letting anyone near loose wiring, damaged utility equipment, or open holes. Never wade through standing water or touch it without protection. If in doubt of the safety at any point, stop and let a professional handle the task.
2. Document the Damage
Most home and business owners will work with their insurance company to pay for and fix damage to property. This starts before you remove anything, begin to clean up or fix any damage. Document all the damage that can be safely identified. One of the best and easiest ways to document is to take photos and videos of damage with your mobile device. Then, if you haven’t already, contact your insurance company at this point to report a claim.
3. Mitigate and Protect
The first step in any restoration job following a disaster isn’t clean up or repairs, it’s preventing further damage. If the roof is exposed to the elements, you may need to cover open areas with secure tarps. If a window is broken, it may need to be boarded up. If water or gas may be leaking, turn off these utilities until repairs are made. If you’re able to move undamaged items farther away from damage safely, do so.
While you can often remove many household items from waterlogged areas or damaged structures, do so in coordination with mitigation specialists. Different materials, furnishings, fabrics, and goods often need different approaches for drying out and restoring them. Then document by way of photos what you changed for future reference.
4. Thoroughly Assess the Situation
The next step is to take a moment to accurately assess the damage and your options for repairing it. Even though speed is often a factor for storm damage cleanup, you also need to determine the real extent of problems before you fix them.
Many people want to jump right into fixing a damaged wall or roof, but if you immediately rush to put up a new section, you can easily miss underlying or hidden moisture damage, mold, and rot. As soon as these are covered up by repairs, you usually lose the chance to catch them before they cause new trouble.
5. Work With Professionals
Finally, you should work with professionals to clean up and make repairs properly. Storms often have winds and debris that create overhead hazards, which are very dangerous for amateurs to work around, as you may need specialized equipment like cranes, heavy-duty fans, pumps, and lifts. Keep in mind, water damage from storms can quickly, sometimes within a day or two, turn into hazardous mold and fungus.
While hiring a professional restoration service could be covered by your insurance company, in the event you’re paying for work yourself, be sure you hire one that will do the work safely and correctly, so you get your money’s worth.
If you’ve faced storm damage or live in a storm-prone area, start by learning more about the steps you can take to get your home or business back into working order. Call the team at Ace Restoration Services today, as we work with Florida property owners to locate any and all damage, document and remove the damage, and ensure there are no lasting effects for health and safety.