These tips will be handy whether you left your home during a storm or stayed in a storm cellar. Follow these steps for a safe return.
1. If your home was closed down for several days, open the windows and let air in for 30 minutes before re-entering the house.
2. Only inspect your home exterior during the daytime. Wear long clothes and protective gear, if you have any.
3. Be wary of snakes, broken objects, tree parts, fallen or compromised power lines, and flood water.
4. Inspect your home exterior first, starting at the top and going down to the foundation. Document every damage carefully and take clear pictures.
5. If any siding is loose, inspect behind it for water leakage.
1. First, look around for any broken gas lines or flooded areas.
* If there is standing water in your home but the access to the main power break is dry, turn it off. If it is not, leave the house and call an electrician to turn it off.
* If you smell gas, stay out of the property and contact your utility company.
2. Clean and dry your home as soon as possible. The first 48 hours are the most critical in mold prevention. Position the fans to blow air outdoors.
3. Throw away anything that can't be dried and cleaned quickly, including toys and mattresses. Remove drywall and insulation that has been wet, even if it is now dry. Keep an inventory of everything you discarded.
4. Clean the floors, surfaces, countertops, appliances, and plumbing fixtures with warm water and dish soap.
5. Throw away any food that may have come in contact with flood water. Bottled or boiled water is safe.
6. Inspect your home for mold and contaminants. If water penetrated your home at all, there probably is mold. Water heating and air conditioning systems, in particular, are prone to bacteria and mold growth if they've been flooded. Call for a professional inspection before turning those on.
7. Board up broken windows as a quick safety measure until you get them professionally resealed.
* Opt for flashlights over candles and keep a fire extinguisher close by at all times.
* Leave the building if you hear sudden unusual noises. This could signal that the building is about to fall.
How to work well with the insurance company
*If your house will be unsafe for a substantial period, contact your insurance company for details about temporary accommodation.
*Keep records of unusual expenses on temporary repairs and avoid any permanent ones until a professional has reviewed the damage.
*Keep a list of damaged personal belongings recording them in as much detail as possible.
*Record serial and model numbers of appliances and household equipment.
How to get federal help
FEMA can offer you temporary housing, repairs, and financial help for medical expenses. Register here: disasterassistance.gov
*You may be eligible for tax relief. Check the IRS website to find out: irs.gov
Fur further information on conducting yourself during a natural disaster, visit the CDC website: cdc.gov.