brier August 23, 2011 No Comments

There are
so many articles to thumb through pertaining to preparing for a storm. Whether
it’s a hurricane or a tropical storm we’ve heard over and over where we should
go, the groceries we should stock up on, the parts of our home that are safest,
and the parts of our home we should avoid. In Florida it’s not uncommon to see people
board their windows up for one storm and then leave it up for the rest of
hurricane season. Better to be safe than sorry, right? But what happens after
the storm? Sometimes there’s calm and sometimes there’s chaos… but will you
know how to handle the aftermath.

If you left your home for the storm be sure to find out if it’s
safe to go back to your neighborhood before you venture out. Make sure you let
people know you plan on heading home, what time you should be arriving, and the
route you’re taking. Don’t drive through water especially in historic areas or
areas prone to sinkholes. You never know how deep that puddle really is. Watch
out for power lines and debris in the road. You can never be too careful when
driving so don’t rush it! Also, listen to news radio and alerts so that you’re
aware of what’s going on, but it is okay to switch stations to keep kids in the
from worrying.

            When you arrive home, or if you
didn’t even leave to begin with, survey everything with extreme caution. Alert
authorities if you have sinkholes, fallen power lines, smell something burning,
or smell gas (open windows if there are strange smells). Turn off the power and
gas to your home until you’ve checked all the electrical wiring and are sure
that you don’t smell gas. Don’t smoke, turn on lights, or light matches until
everything has been checked out. This is what your flashlights are for that you
should have stored away! If you feel like your home is shifting or you’re
hearing weird settling noises get out! Never ever ever use a generator inside.
Keep it outside and on a dry level surface. Don’t forget to eat and stay hydrated
but only drink bottled water until you know the water is safe.

            If the coast is clear and it’s safe
to check everything out, start taking pictures of the damage. Also, make a list
of things that were broken or have gone missing since the storm. If you’ve read
and followed the generic preparedness plans you or your insurance agent should
already have pictures of your home and valuables (pre-storm) stored somewhere.
Find these files and group them with your list and post-storm photos. Contact
your insurance provider’s claims office and ask them who you should be sending
all of this information to. Paperwork can be frustrating when you’ve been
through a disaster so take your time, but don’t procrastinate. Make sure you’re
contacting everyone in a timely manner and answering any questions to the best
of your ability.

Tropical storms and hurricanes are a risk we take to be able to
live by the coast. Don’t let them scare you out of the beauty of everyday Florida life. Stay
informed. Stay safe. Stay prepared.