Storms: Prepare and React

Before the Storm

  • Look for any potential problem areas, especially along your roof, windows, doors and garage doors.
  • Remove tree branches that could harm utility wires or home.
  • Clear debris from gutters and spouts.
  • Secure or bring outdoor furniture or other items inside. – The Halloween decorations will have to come inside!
  • Go shopping: nonperishable items such as canned food, granola bars, dried fruit, nuts, ready-to-eat cereal and snacks, crackers, and peanut butter are best.
  • Set the refrigerator to its coldest setting. If the power goes out, the food won’t spoil as quickly.
  • Charge your cell phones fully.
  • Move valuables to the upper floors of your house, away from areas that could potentially flood.
  • Check your sump pumps to make sure they are operational. If you don’t have one, and if time allows, install a battery operated back-up in case of a power outage.
  • Keep a list of emergency numbers by the telephone. This includes your insurance agent’s phone number – you may have to turn in a homeowner’s claim.
  • Take inventory of your possessions. Your insurance adjuster will need this if there is damage and your contents need to be repaired or replaced.

During the Storm

  • Stay inside and off the roads.
  • If you absolutely must be on the roads, don’t attempt to drive through flooded areas.
  • If the authorities tell you to evacuate your home – do it! Don’t be stubborn. Be sure to take all of your important documents with you.

If the Power Goes Out

  • Report outages to your power company immediately. Don’t assume your neighbors have already called.
  • Be sure that ovens, ranges or heaters that may have been on before the power went out have been turned off.
  • Don’t use candles. They can be a fire hazard. Use flashlights instead.
  • Unplug appliances and electronics that can be damaged when the power is restored.
  • Keep your refrigerator and freezer closed. Each time you open the door, a significant amount of cold air is lost. An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold safely for about four hours. A packed freezer will keep food safe for 48 hours; you have 24 hours if the freezer is half full.
  • Don’t risk eating spoiled food. When in doubt, throw it out!
  • Keep generators and fuel outdoors.
  • Keep your doors closed to prevent warm air from escaping.

If It Floods

  • If you’re outdoors, move to high ground.
  • If your basement floods, turn off your pilot light for your basement gas appliances.
  • Turn off the electrical panel box if you can do so safely. Don’t touch electrical switches if they (or you) are wet.
  • Stay away until the floodwaters have receded. Don’t enter your home or attempt repairs until you’re certain it’s safe.
  • Contact a certified restoration contractor and your insurance agent as soon as possible. A fast response to property damage lessens the amount and severity of potential secondary damage.