Storms cause extreme damage to properties, neighborhoods, and entire regions every year in the US. Need proof? Look no further than the $1.9 trillion (that’s trillion, with a ‘t’) worth of destruction they’ve produced over the last 40 years!
It’s little surprise when you think of the havoc that high winds, heavy rain, floodwater, and lightning strikes can wreak. Among other issues, the power goes out, trees are uprooted, rooves are ruined, and basements are flooded. It can be a whirlwind of stress (and danger) for homeowners everywhere.
The worst part? When the storm eventually subsides, the storm cleanup has to begin. You’re left to assess the damage and go through the expense and struggle of picking up the pieces.
It’s never fun. Yet, with the right insight and approach, you can get through it with less difficulty than you might expect. With that in mind, check out our top suggestions for how to deal with the aftermath of a storm.
Get the Right Gear Together
Storm damage can be as dangerous as it is distressing. There might be broken glass on the ground, a downed powerline to dodge, and falling debris to think about; fires, flooding, and fallen trees are commonplace too. Of course, the storm cleanup operation often involves heavy, manual work as well, which poses its own set of physical risks.
That’s why it’s so important to have the right personal protective equipment to hand. If you don’t have it stored away already, then strive to get your hands on some before you commence the cleanup. Goggles, hard hats, work gloves, and sturdy waterproof boots are just a few basic PPE items that are worth wearing throughout the coming process.
Work Together and Take Your Time
Dealing with the aftermath of a big storm is tough at a physical, mental, and emotional level. After all, your life’s been turned upside down and you have a never-ending to-do list to get it back on track. And many of those jobs involve heavy lifting, shifting, clearing, and sorting!
As understandable as it is to rush from one task to the next, we recommend taking your time. Be methodical, focus on the most important jobs first, and take rests whenever you need to. The storm cleanup might take longer, but you’ll be less likely to hurt yourself and/or burnout along the way.
Work together with friends, family, and neighbors too. Help each other out, share resources, comfort each other, and avoid lifting anything heavy without someone else’s support.
Assess the Situation
As soon as it’s safe to leave the house, you should venture outside and assess the situation. Do a thorough tour of your property (inside and out), looking high and wide for any signs of damage. This vital step should reveal a) the extent of the trouble and b) which cleanup tasks you’ll need to prioritize.
Pay particular attention to areas that are most susceptible to storm damage. For instance, on the outside of your house, check your roof shingles, gutters, window frames (and panes), siding, tiling, and yard space for issues. On the interior, look in your attic, check your basement, and assess the walls and ceilings in each room.
Act Fast When There’s Flooding
Pacing yourself in the cleanup is key. However, the only exception is when your house has been flooded as a result of the storm. Your best bet in these cases is to respond as quickly as possible to the floodwater in your home.
Trust us, you don’t want to delay. A single inch of water can cause $25,000 of damage to your property! You need to get the water out by any means possible to prevent that from happening and stop mold growth in the process.
It’s tempting to call your insurance company first, but they’ll be so busy that you can expect a holdup you can’t afford. Call a restoration company to come ASAP instead. Fans, personal flooding vacuums, and sump pumps are all good initial solutions, but there’s no replacement for professional equipment.
Clear Away the Main Debris
With the water situation sorted, you can turn your attention to any debris that’s fallen outside. From gardening tools and equipment to leaves, twigs, branches, and roof shingles, you can expect all sorts of detritus to be scattered around your yards! There might be broken fences, loose shrubbery, and fallen trees too.
Start by clearing the small items and gradually move up to the larger, heavier ones. Any organic material could go on your compost heap. For everything else, though, try to separate it into piles in readiness for removal companies to take it away.
Make sure you stay alert for any broken branches above your head too. Call a professional tree company to handle any dangers of this nature that you see.
Salvage Anything You Can
As you go around your property, auditing the damage and clearing away the debris, try to save as many of your possessions as you possibly can. Sure, if flooding has been a factor, then you may have to remove and replace things like drywall, carpets, and soft furnishings.
Yet there could be lots more (such as family photographs, kitchen appliances, and clothing) that’s salvageable! Even things that are sodden and seem beyond repair could be fine with a bit of TLC. Make the effort to do it and you can save huge amounts of time, money, and effort of replacements and renovations down the line.
Remember These Storm Cleanup Suggestions
Big storms of any kind can be frightening to behold. As a homeowner, you’re at their mercy, with no choice but to hunker down, sit it out, and hope for the best. Unfortunately, the trail of destruction they leave in their wake means the real trouble starts when the storm peters out!
Know the struggle? Well, with any luck, the storm cleanup tips in this post will help. Keep them in mind, put them into action, you should be back on your feet in no time.
Have you been hit by a storm and need a professional tree service to deal with any fallen trees, trunks, and stumps? We can help. Contact us today to find out more.