The combination of snow, ice, freezing temperatures, and strong winds during a winter storm can threaten your safety and wellbeing. It can also bring damage to your property, such as your roof, siding, walls, interior building materials, pipes, and more.
After experiencing severe weather, it is critical to act quickly to assess the risks and prevent further damage. Know how to handle storm damage immediately after a heavy snowstorm. This skill is important to have whether you are currently experiencing storm damage or simply want to take measures to prepare for the future.
Common Disasters or Emergencies During a Snowstorm
A winter storm can have different effects, depending on the severity of the storm. Before learning how to fix storm damage, let’s look into its most common types first:
- Leaks: The heavy wind can blow leaves into your gutter, which in turn can get clogged and cause water to leak inside your home. Melted snow can also leak into your basement.
- Flooding: Pipes can burst during cold snaps, leading to flooding and water damage. The sump pump can also be blocked by freezing temperatures and force water back into your house.
- Fires: Heating equipment plugged into an overloaded outlet and an unattended fireplace are two common causes of fires during a severe winter storm.
How to Fix Storm Damage Immediately
Now that you have a clear idea of the kinds of damage a winter storm can bring, it’s time to know what to do when they occur. Here’s how to handle storm damage in your home or workplace:
Keep Calm and Ensure Everyone’s Safe
Emergency situations can be nerve-wracking for everyone involved. But they also require you to think straight and be quick on your feet. You need to make sound decisions when disaster strikes. So take a few deep breaths and then assess your situation carefully.
One of the things you should evaluate is the severity of the damage incurred. You might have to move people away from affected areas. If staying on the premises is dangerous, arrange for a temporary shelter for your family, guests, customers, and employees.
Call emergency services when necessary.
Cut Off Power and Water in Affected Areas
Turn off electricity and water in damaged areas to prevent additional problems. Know where your shutoff valves are located so more water won’t flow to parts of your house or establishment that are already flooded or suffering from leaks. Also, disconnect the power supply if necessary to avoid setting off a fire, making matters worse.
In case of a power failure, unplug appliances and electronics, leaving just one light to know when the power comes back on. Overloaded outlets can cause a power surge, leading to further damage.
Record any instances of loss, such as damage to your property, personal documents, vehicles, business equipment, and other valuables. Use your phone to make detailed notes as long as it is safe to do so. Don’t forget to take lots of photos and even videos to ensure your recollection of the damage will be accurate later on.
You should be conducting this step before carrying out recovery, repair, and restoration to the property. In addition, keep your notes, photos, videos, etc. in a safe place. This allows you to access them easily once the insurance claim process begins.
Remove Items From Damaged Areas
If a leak appears in an area, make sure to move your personal belongings, documents, and other contents as soon as possible. If possible, safely find a safe and dry place to put your furniture, appliances, and electronics to keep water from reaching them. Minimizing impact, especially on items that may be hard to replace, should be a top priority. The sooner you get them out of danger, the better.
Start the Insurance Claim Process
Once you’re safe from the immediate perils of a winter storm, you should contact your insurance representative. You would want the adjuster to check the extent of the damage before starting the restoration process.
Be careful to leave everything in place, except for the items that you need to move away from the danger zone. Back up your claim with the documentation you put together earlier. To be sure, you can check with your agent the exact requirements you will have to provide.
On to the Next Step
Knowing how to handle storm damage is just the beginning of the process. Rebuilding or restoring your property after a storm may require more of your time, energy, and money.
It helps to keep in mind that you do not need to walk through this process alone. Your insurance provider can help you recover some, if not all, of the losses you incurred during the winter storm. At the same time, a reliable storm damage restoration company can assist you in getting your property and life back to normal as soon as possible.
If you are in need of assistance after facing storm damage, speak to one of our representatives to learn more about how we can considerately help you and streamline the restoration process.