Whether you’ve had several days’ notice, or it has happened swiftly and suddenly, when a storm hits and does devastating damage to your property, it can be heart-breaking, stressful and costly to properly restore your home. Even if you weren’t hit as hard as some others may have been in your neighbourhood, suffering is relative. Your neighbours may be better equipped to deal with the situation, or they may have more safety measures in place. What matters now is that you work towards getting your life back on track.
It can be difficult – to focus on being constructive – when you’ve just had your home at least partially destroyed, but the sooner you get onto it, the quicker you can move on with your life. As with any natural disaster, often these things can’t be helped, but there are restoration services to hand who will help you to make the necessary repairs needed so that you can return to a normal life. Read on for five essential steps you should be taking following a storm in order to get your life back as quickly as possible.
- Call the Authorities – Is it Safe to Re-enter?
Before you do anything at all, you need to make sure that it has been deemed safe to re-enter your home. While everything may look safe, you don’t always know what is sturdy and what is likely to collapse at any minute. In order to reduce the risk of you or your family getting injured, check with the local authorities to make sure that your home is now safe to re-enter. Once you have that all clear, then you can move onto checking your home, taking inventory etc.
- Locating Any Valuables
You’ll now want to start looking for any valuables to see whether or not they survived the storm. These valuables can be both sentimental and monetary, although you may want to prioritise finding certain ones if there is a sense of urgency for some valuables. Try to expect the worst; in storms, particularly bad ones, it may be an unfortunate fact that some irreplaceable memories, such as old photographs or letters, could be damaged beyond repair.
Photos and letters are easily damaged in weather based storms, so it is better if you keep them in a waterproof container just in case, or prioritise finding them after the storm. Don’t spend hours and hours looking for them. If you can’t find them after one deeper search, it may be better to give them up for lost and move on.
- Taking Inventory for Insurance Purposes
Where claiming on the insurance is concerned, you will need to take an inventory documenting everything that has been lost or damaged in the storm. Certain furniture and personal items should be covered by your insurance policy. However, some personal items such as digital cameras or other electrical equipment and luxury items will need a receipt in order for you to prove ownership to the insurance company. Go through this inventory methodically and try not to linger on any one item or fret about the extent of the damage. Right now you need to be stoic about the event in order to make it right as soon as possible.
- Drying and Damage Services
There may be lasting flood damage to your home and your furniture and it is important that this is cleaned up properly. There are companies who provide home cleaning and flood cleaning services following a natural disaster. You may also need deep cleaning services for flood damaged carpets and upholstery, this is provided for by some companies otherwise, you can try and hit up your local professional cleaners. It is important to realise that there may be damage caused that you can’t see, so a professional is essential in this situation, otherwise, you may have to fork out more for repairs later down the line. Better to make sure everything is done and dusted as soon as possible so that you can begin to put the whole thing behind you.
- Taking Care of the Exterior
Even if the interior of your property isn’t that damaged, due to the fact that it was a storm it is very likely that5 the exterior of your property has taken a bit of a hit, and this needs attending to. Check your roof and gutter lining to see whether or not there are any cracked or broken roof tiles. Your gutters may need clearing and the lining reinforced but always check with a professional to see if this is the case. If you can get to repairs as soon as possible, you can help to minimise both internal and external damages.
Of course, some aspects of restoration are likely to take a little longer than others, but it is important that you start your restoration plan as soon as possible. It can be easy to feel sorry for yourself and to want to take time and get away from it all, but that only makes it harder to go back to. If you take a proactive approach to restoring your home as soon as possible, you can try to minimise the damages caused and get you and your family back on track as soon as possible. With the relevant authorities and charity groups able to give you a hand where needed, you should have the resources you need to get sorted.
This article was written by Sara Bryant and MC Property Maintenance, the high access restoration and decorating specialists.