As Montgomery County residents assess their homes for storm damage, there are some precautionary tips to keep in mind.
Disaster relief experts at ServiceMaster Clean have a variety of tips on how to stay safe after the storm.
“When disaster strikes your home or business, all you want to do is get your life back to normal… fast,” Pete Duncanson, director of training and technical support for ServiceMaster Clean, said.
- Check to see if your home is safe: When returning home, make sure the home is structurally safe before going inside. Debris may be hazardous, and the potential for collapse may exist.
- Be careful with power: Have a professional check the property for leaks to ensure it is safe before turning on electricity or lighting any matches.
- Store important items: Keep identification, insurance policies, financial information, wills, checkbook, keys and cash in a waterproof container.
- Report property damage: Immediately report property damage
to an insurance agent.
- Document the damage: Videotape or take photos of the damaged areas and prepare a detailed inventory of all damaged or destroyed personal property. Be sure to keep a copy of everything.
- Make repairs: Make whatever repairs are possible to protect from a home from further damage. Save all receipts to be reimbursed by the insurance company.
- Watch out for scam artists: Hire properly-licensed workers for
- Negotiate with creditors: If a home is unlivable, inform local utilities so the resident will not be billed. Work out a payment plan with credit card companies and creditors to fund repairs.
- Assist the claims adjuster: Be prepared to respond as timely as
possible to the assigned adjuster to speed along the claims process.
- Look for tax breaks: Enlist a trusted tax expert to help identify applicable breaks.
Water Damage Tips:
- Use a dehumidifier if the outside temperature is about 60 degrees.
- Use fans to circulate the air and assist with drying.
- Remove as much water as possible by mopping and blotting.
- Wipe furniture dry.
- Lift draperies off carpet, loop through a coat hanger, and place the hanger on the drapery rod.
- Prop up wet furniture cushions for even drying and place small wood blocks or aluminum foil under furniture legs.
- Remove wet area rugs or other floor coverings and open furniture drawers, closet doors and luggage to enhance drying.
- Move photos, paintings and art objects to a safe, dry location.
- Remove wet fabrics and dry them as soon as possible. Hang furs and leather goods to dry separately at room temperature.
- Remove damp books from shelves and spread out to dry.
- If damage occurs during a cool season, leave heat on; if in summer, use an air conditioner if available.
- Remove damp items from the home within 24 to 48 hours and throw away any wet items not considered valuable. Furniture Medic, part of the ServiceMaster family, may be able to restore treasured wood furnishings and antiques.
- Avoid direct contact with areas affected by mold. Wear protective clothing while sifting through items that were beneath the flood waters or where mold has begun to spread.
- Use an ordinary household vacuum to remove water.
- Use electrical appliances while on wet carpets or floors.
- Go into rooms with standing water if the electricity is still on.
- Lift tacked down carpet without professional help.
- Wait to call for professional help. Damage from water and bacteria growth can begin within hours.
- Mix bleach with other cleaning products. The combination of chemicals may create toxic fumes"