Returning Home after a disaster? Here is what you can expect.

By Velocity Services Group on June 17 2017, 8:52AM

Returning to your home or business after a disaster can be an overwhelming, shocking, devastating experience. Even the most prepared homeowner can feel helpless at a time like this. Do not be anxious to get to your house or business until local officials have declared it safe to enter a disaster zone. Remember you can always replace things, but not people and pets. Count your blessings and follow these steps to get on the road to recovery.

Safety First

Use your preparedness kit

  • FEMA recommends a 72-hour survival kit for disasters like these. If you've taken precautions for emergency supplies, now is the time to use it and keep it close.
  • Water may not be safe to drink. Check with the health department on the sanitation of the water. Use your preparedness kit to boil or sanitize water before drinking and bathing. Boil for a full minute and let cool before drinking.
  • Keep a battery-powered radio to listen for alerts and news updates about your affected area.
  • Use a battery-powered flashlight to inspect your home. Turn it on BEFORE entering your home to reduce spark risk with a possible gas leak.

Animals

  • Keep an eye out for lost or injured wildlife and pets. Bear in mind the trauma they have experienced, and these animals are operating in survival mode. They might be aggressive if you try to help. Some will try to take shelter in abandoned buildings on higher ground.
  • Do not attempt to remove a dead animal as they can spread contamination or disease.
  • Watch for snakes and use a poking stick to sort through debris before digging in.
  • Call your local animal control office or wildlife resource office if you encounter any of these animal or wildlife situations.

Structure

  • Inspect for structural cracks in roofs, chimneys, foundations, walls, and bridges that could collapse. Do not enter any building that is at risk for collapse. Watch for falling debris when opening closets and cabinets.
  • Move slowly and watch for wet areas or hidden holes to prevent falling or slipping.

Gas

  • If you smell gas, leave and report it immediately.
  • Do not turn on any lights, use an open flame or appliances in the building.
  • If you can, open a window and turn off the main gas valve. Only a certified technician should turn the gas back on after the property has passed inspection.
  • Do not attempt to re-light gas appliances, especially after a flood. Have an HVAC technician inspect and re-light those for you.

Flood

  • Do not drive through flooded waters. One foot of water can move a car, 2 feet can move a truck or SUV.
  • Six inches of moving water can knock a person down
  • Use a flotation device to navigate around flooded areas and bring a walking stick to test the depth of water to avoid surprises.
  • If pipes are damaged, turn off main water valve.
  • Do not flush toilets until sewage lines are intact
  • Pump out wells and test water before drinking
  • Pump out basement gradually, about 1/3 water per day to keep the pressure inside and the surrounding waterlogged ground pressure stable to prevent structural collapse.

Power

  • Watch for downed power lines, especially near flooded areas. Avoid those areas entirely until a professional can repair it.
  • If you are able, turn off circuit breakers if you suspect danger with your power supply, especially if appliances are wet.
  • Keep refrigerators closed as they can maintain freshness of food for up to 4 hours at 40 degrees F or lower after a power outage. If this time window has expired, throw out all perishables, especially meats and dairy as they can be harmful to consume if not properly stored.

Next, assess damage and begin recovery

Address high priority needs first

Patch roof with tarp or board up broken windows to buy time while you figure out more extensive damage. Remember that Velocity provides 24/7 emergency service.

Document everything

Take pictures and document all damage to give to your insurance company. The sooner you do this, the faster you get paid to fix the building.

Avoid Scams

Victims of disasters are prime targets for scam artists posing as contractors.

Take your time. Once you temporarily patch up your critical needs, you can have a chance to assess everything else. This helps you carefully select contractors and avoid scams. When you give yourself the time to review estimates, take bids, and check backgrounds, you will save yourself from future scams and headaches than if you were in a rush.

Demand to get all work done in writing before hand. Read all contracts carefully before signing and never give up your insurance money until work is complete.

Velocity won't let you down

Velocity Services Group has a proven track record of excellent work and responding quickly in emergency situations.

Dealing with the aftermath of a natural disaster can be such a stressful time for you and your family. And remember, if you ever need help regarding your property, call Velocity Services Group 24/7 or schedule a consultation today.