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Related video above: ‘Insurance village’ helps Floridians get claims checks following hurricanes
In the wake of a devastating hurricane, residents are advised to exercise caution and take necessary steps to ensure their safety, while also navigating the process of filing insurance claims for property damage. This article provides important guidelines and recommendations for individuals affected by a storm.
Extreme caution should be exercised in the aftermath of a hurricane, as dangerous situations may still be present. If your house is damaged, it is crucial to move carefully and not return until it has been inspected by officials. Always supervise children and refrain from drinking tap water until officials have declared it safe.
If possible, it is advisable to avoid driving due to debris and road blockages. Additionally, power outages may lead to gasoline shortages and long lines at filling stations. At intersections with traffic lights out, treat it as a four-way stop and proceed with extreme caution. Phone lines and cell towers may also be damaged or overloaded, so making calls during off-peak times is recommended.
FEMA will set up relief stations providing free ice, water, and other essential items if power outages persist for an extended period.
Many areas may experience widespread power outages, and power companies will not begin restoration efforts until wind speeds drop below 35 miles per hour to ensure the safety of repair crews. Power outages can last anywhere from several hours to weeks.
During this time, the use of a portable generator can help restore a semblance of normalcy, but it must be operated safely. Always run generators outside the house and never inside or in a garage. Prior to refueling, ensure the generator is turned off and has cooled down to prevent gasoline spills on hot engine parts, which can lead to injuries or fatalities. Place generators well away from open windows, including neighboring homes, to prevent deadly exhaust from entering the residence.
It is vital not to connect a generator directly to home wiring as it can pose severe risks to neighbors or utility crews. Instead, plug appliances directly into the generator’s outlet using heavy-duty extension cords rated for outdoor use. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for grounding the generator and be considerate of noise ordinances and neighbors.
Residents are urged to stay informed about waste collection services by tuning in to WESH 2 News. Notifications will be provided to inform residents when normal pick-up services resume, although it may take several weeks before yard waste is removed.
In the meantime, it is essential to keep household garbage separate from other waste materials in tied plastic bags, in case of any delay in garbage collection. Small debris, loose items, and household refuse should be placed in garbage cans or securely tied plastic bags. It is important to keep debris away from fences, mailboxes, power poles, transformers, and any downed electrical wires. Trash and debris will only be collected from curbsides or public roadways.
Following a hurricane, it is important to make temporary repairs to protect your home or property from further damage. Cover holes in the roof or walls with plywood and use heavy-duty plastic to cover windows.
Before hiring a contractor, ensure they possess a valid license and insurance. Request an estimate and discuss payment terms before proceeding. Keep records, including receipts for labor and materials, until your insurance representative visits.
Price gouging, which involves significant increases in the cost of goods or services following a disaster, is illegal and should be reported. Take photos of damaged areas and possessions as evidence for insurance purposes.
Promptly notify your insurance agent about the damage sustained and provide a contact address and phone number, especially if you have vacated your home. Present your photos and inventory to assist the adjuster in assessing the damage. It is important to be patient, as claim cases are expedited based on severity or hardship.
In the aftermath of a hurricane, residents must prioritize their safety while addressing the necessary steps for recovery and insurance claims. By following these guidelines and recommendations, individuals can begin the process of rebuilding their lives and homes after a storm’s devastating impact.
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