May 22, 2023
When the summer heat and humidity kicks in, so do nasty thunderstorms. The barrage of rain, wind, lightning and even hail can do a number on your home and yard. Here’s how to cope if a bad storm strikes.
It’s tempting to want to get going on cleaning up, but make sure you wait until weather conditions have improved. Stay up to date with your local forecast or check out NOAA weather.
When cleaning up after a bad storm, look around for hazardous conditions. Here are some tips to avoid potential dangers.
Check the risk. Evaluate what kind of risk you may be facing before you start cleaning up the mess. If an area looks dangerous, stay out of it. Severely damaged structures can be unsafe. Contact your local government for the next steps. You may need a safety inspection before you can enter your home.
Flooded rooms. Stay out of the water. Floodwater can contain dangerous bacteria. It also poses a safety risk if it comes into contact with electrical or gas appliances. If it’s safe to do so, turn off the power and gas lines in your home. If the shut-off valves are in the water, call a professional for assistance.
Ask for Help. If your home is a total loss, call local emergency services for help. Also contact your home insurance company before tackling the damage. If you notice any downed power lines, avoid them. Report them to local police and utility companies.
When you are ready for clean-up, make sure you are wearing the proper protective gear. Put on a hard hat, safety goggles, heavy-duty work gloves and waterproof boots. Long pants and a long-sleeved shirt are also recommended. Put on an N95 respirator mask if you have one.
It can take days or weeks to clean up after a severe storm. Here are some safety tips to help you navigate through the clean up process.
Tackling Indoor Cleanup
If your home is safe to enter, check for hazards such as frayed wiring. Sparks and a burning smell can also spell trouble. If there are issues, shut off the power immediately. If you smell gas, turn off the main gas valve. Evacuate your home until the problems are resolved.
Once you’re out of danger, document your damages by taking photos and videos. Take detailed notes too. This will come in handy when you file your insurance claim.
Be careful not to step on exposed nails or broken glass while you’re exploring around the house. Also, clean up any spilled medicines, flammable liquids or potentially hazardous materials you find.
Next, set aside piles for different types of storm debris. These can include electronics, large appliances, hazardous and household waste, and construction materials. This will make clean-up and trash pick-up easier.
Safe Outdoor Cleanup
When you are ready to assess the yard damage, take a look at your trees. Pick up any fallen branches and remove any dangling ones. Get them out of the way so you don’t trip over them. If you have the experience, grab a chainsaw for some tree trimming. Follow proper safety protocols before you begin, including ensuring the tree isn’t touching any power lines. If the tree is too large to handle, call in a pro to do the work.
Once the yard is safe to clean up, grab some trash bags. Pick up any loose debris. Use a shovel or rake to collect the yard waste. Put it in a heavy-duty trash bag. Be sure to clean out your gutters to keep them from clogging up. Check the roof as well. High winds, flying debris and fallen trees can damage your shingles.
Have a plan in case the power goes out. Use battery-powered lanterns or flashlights to see in the dark. Avoid using candles. Keep extra batteries on hand to power up flashlights and portable radios. Purchase a portable charger for your phone. Disconnect appliances and electronics to prevent damage from electrical surges. Have non-perishable food on hand. Keep refrigerators and freezers closed.
You can use a generator for emergency power, but don’t turn it on during severe weather or in wet conditions. Run it only outdoors several feet away from the house.
When it comes to home disasters, Flood Department is here to help. We provide repair and clean-up services for homeowners and businesses. We are dedicated to helping reverse the damage done by water, mold, sewage, smoke and more. We cover Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Contact us today at 301-829-2600 or visit us online.