National Preparedness Month 2020: Learn What to Do in the Aftermath of Disasters
When your home suffers damage from fire or water, it can be a devastating experience, especially if the damage is particularly severe. While there is much to do in the aftermath, it can be overwhelming to figure out where to start. This blog aims to guide you in the right direction in the aftermath of a disaster.
Take Care of Yourself and Family
Your local disaster relief service, such as the American Red Cross or the Salvation Army, can help you find temporary shelter, as well as food, clothing, and medicine. Also, make sure to take care of yourself. Get plenty of rest and do not be afraid to ask for help; you do not need to do this alone!
Help Your Pets
Do not bring your pets into your home if cleanup and repairs are still occurring. If possible, try to leave pets with a family member, friend or veterinarian if you are visiting or cleaning your property.
Security and Safety
Do NOT enter a damaged property unless the fire department says it is safe; roofs and floors may be damaged and could collapse at any time. The fire department will also need to make sure utility services (water, electricity, and gas) are safe to use. If they are not safe, your utilities will be left turned off or disconnected; DO NOT try to turn them back on yourself.
Contact Your Insurance Company
To ensure your damages are covered, it is important to contact your insurance and schedule an inspection. In addition, your property may have immediate needs such as boarding up windows and doors, extracting flooding, etc.; your insurance company can help to coordinate this with vendors who offer emergency services 24/7/365, such as SERVPRO.
If you do not have insurance, there are organizations that can help, such as:
- American Red Cross
- Religious organizations
- Public agencies, such as the public health department
- State or municipal emergency services office
Get in touch with your landlord or mortgage lender ASAP. Contact your credit card company to report credit cards that were lost in the incident and request replacement. Save all of your receipts for any money you spend; these may be needed later by the insurance company to prove any losses claimed on your tax return.
Handling the Damage
Call a company that specializes in cleaning and/or restoring personal items, such as SERVPRO. Whether you or your insurer buys this type of service, be clear on who will pay for it. Be sure to ask for an estimate of cost for the work and agree to it in writing.
- Secure your home against more damage
- Estimate and repair damage to your property and renew items of personal property
- Store repaired household items until needed
SERVPRO of Elk Grove/E. Schaumburg/Itasca/Roselle and SERVPRO of Palatine/Rolling Meadows are ready to respond 24/7/365 to your emergency.