If a home disaster were to strike, do you think you would be able to handle it on your own? Even if you possess a lot of knowledge and skill in home repairs and improvements, taking care of more than one disaster at a time can be overwhelming. A single home disaster can cause thousands of dollars in damage — even more, if it’s an emergency.
After a home disaster, you need to call the pros. Smart people know that household damage and loss can come from any number of sources. These include things like dangerous weather, natural disasters, and accidents. After the mayhem is over, it’s time to find an expert. But what if you don’t know where to turn? What do you do next? Read our guide to home disaster recovery so you’re prepared for anything that comes your way.
Get your family, personal possessions and pets to safety immediately
First and foremost: get your family, personal possessions and pets to safety immediately. Follow the evacuation plan that was designed for your area. If there isn’t an official evacuation plan for your area, here is what I would do:
If at all possible, flee the threatened area on foot. You’ll be able to move faster since you won’t have to stop every few minutes to wait for traffic and often trees and other debris will be blocking roads. Use sidewalks whenever possible but don’t hesitate to walk in the street when necessary; traffic lights won’t be working anyway and cars will have a hard time seeing you among the debris. If you can’t make it on foot, use your vehicle as an emergency shelter until help arrives or it is safe to continue on foot. Head for higher ground immediately in the case of the flood.
Take pictures of damages
When disaster strikes, the first thought on everyone’s mind is typically how to get back to normal. But once the disaster is over, and you’re back home, take pictures of the damage to your home.
These pics are essential when it comes time to file insurance claims. They can help you recover more money from your insurance company and speed up reimbursement checks.
The tips below will help you take pictures of your home’s damage that will be useful when filing an insurance claim:
Don’t rely on the cameras on your cell phone or your tablet. These devices may not have a high-quality enough lens to capture images that are good enough for an insurance claim. Instead, use a digital camera with a long zoom (10X or more) or a camera phone with a powerful zoom lens.
Take photos of any rooms or areas that have damage – but only if it’s safe to do so! If there’s still water coming into the house, it might be best to wait until the water is down so that you won’t risk electrocution or getting sick from contaminated water and mud. Take multiple angles of each room and picture any damage you want to include in your claim.
You can do it yourself or hire a restoration expert
The best way to get your home back in shape after a disaster is to contact a professional restoration company like H&H. We are insured and licensed with over 20 years of experience in providing quality workmanship and competitive pricing. Our technicians are experienced in repair, restoration and reconstruction of water, fire, smoke damage and mold removal.
If you are looking to learn how to clean up after a flood yourself, there are some basics that you should know before you begin:
1. If there is standing water in your home or on the floor, do not walk through it because it could cause you to slip and fall.
2. Wear protective clothing which is appropriate for the job at hand (hazmat suit for cleaning chemicals).
3. Make sure that all food in the cabinets and refrigerator is thrown away immediately because it may have been contaminated by flood waters containing bacteria.
4. DO NOT use an electrical system that has been wet unless you have turned off the main circuit breaker for that area of the house and cleaned up any spills or leaks from electric devices such as computers or televisions.
5. Mold begins growing within 24 hours after a flood so it is important to get the water out as quickly as possible.
The sooner you act, the less damage there will be
After an earthquake, fire or flood, it’s important to act quickly because water is your enemy. Water allows mold to grow and it weakens drywall and other construction materials used in the home. If you observe water coming from a pipe or appliance, turn it off immediately.
In the event of a disaster, it is always best to act quickly. The longer you wait, the more damage can occur.
Repair the major damage first
Once a disaster strikes, it’s important to get the most important repairs done first. If you have flooding in your basement, for example, you want to make sure that the water is wiped up and the moisture problem is fixed as soon as possible. Allowing mold to form could lead to serious health problems and will also mean a much more expensive cleanup bill.
The same thing goes for fire damage. If you have smoke damage or burn marks on your walls, it’s best to get professional help cleaning them up before they set in. Having these issues cleaned up early can save you a lot of grief later down the road.
Keep your most sentimental things in a safe place
The most sentimental items that are irreplaceable. Like photos, heirlooms, and other items that can’t be bought.
While these items may not be as important to replace as others (like clothes), they’re certainly more important than anything else on this list. These are the things that make your home, well, your home.
Many people keep these items in their bedroom closet or under the bed, but there’s a better place for them to be stored. Keep them in a safe, like a fireproof safe or a safe deposit box. This way, even if your house is broken into or set ablaze there’s still a good chance these items will survive intact.
The reason for this is simple – water damage can render most of our possessions completely useless after a disaster strikes. Firefighters will spray water all over your belongings to put out fires, so it’s best to keep these items safe from harm as much as possible. Anything stored in your bedroom closet or under your bed is extra vulnerable to flood damage because water typically seeps into those areas during disasters.
Damage to your home is never convenient. It’s always stressful. It’s difficult and challenging, and it’s certainly something that you never want to deal with! But one good thing about damage is that it can often be prevented. If you remember to use these simple tips on how you can help protect your home, you will be miles ahead of most other homeowners out there—and one step closer to preventing damage in the first place.
Contact us today and get started!