Sunday, October 6, 2013

Tips For Cleaning Up After a Storm

So you've just experienced another late summer/early fall storm. You may have a variety of issues to face in the aftermath and some may include damaged trees, flooding, and wind-blown shingles. During and after large storms and hurricanes your main concern should be the well being of yourself and your family. Only once a storm has cleared and authorities report conditions are safe should you begin with your cleanup. Always keep your own safety in mind. Authorities report that most injuries after storms are associated with carelessness while cleaning up.

Depending on the size of the storm you have experienced, damage levels may vary. During stronger storms or hurricanes your home may incur some damage. While this may be your main concern as you begin your cleanup, keep your surroundings in mind. Trees, shrubs, and other debris may make immediate cleanup dangerous.

Step 1. Clear dangerous brush and debris out of your yard and away from your home. Examine your yard and outside of your home carefully before beginning this step. Note any hanging branches or debris, especially nearest your home. Use a chainsaw or trimming shears to remove damaged branches from trees and shrubs. For situations in which there is a large amount of natural debris, the use of a wood chipper can help eliminate large piles of tree and shrub branches and significantly cut the time needed to complete your yard cleanup. After clearing your yard of debris, moving on to repairing your home will be easier and much safer for you and your family.

Step 2. Assess the damage to your home. Are the repairs minor enough that you can complete them yourself or do you need to hire professional? Be sure not to get into something you are not capable of completing; either because you have insufficient tools or lack the necessary skills.
One task that is commonly required after a storm and can be completed by the average joe is replacing or re-tacking windblown shingles. If the damage is excessive (you'll know when it is) refrain from getting on your roof and risking injury. If the task is manageable, grab a ladder and carefully re-tack shingles that are partially ripped or overturned and replace shingles that have been completely removed with new shingles. A nail gun can be very helpful in this instance because they will reduce the time you need to be on the roof; especially important if the roof is unstable because of storm-related damage.

Before beginning the cleanup process inside, make a trip around the outside of your home to determine if any windows have been damaged or broken. Most likely you won't have the necessary materials to repair a damaged window so use a piece of plywood to cover the window to ensure further damage within your home is prevented. In your trip around the house, examine your gutters to be sure water is draining away from your home's foundation (the further the better) to prevent flooding.

Step 3. Enter your home and examine any damage that may have occurred indoors. If any debris is visible on the floor or otherwise, be sure to sweep and clean it all up. Depending on whether an evacuation was necessary or not, you may need to clean out your refrigerator of its contents; never assume food will last, be safe and get rid of it. You may also have experienced some flooding within your home. The chance of flooding increases if your home has a basement, which may hold standing water after a large storm or hurricane. To prevent massive flooding in a basement, you can install a sump pump that will automatically pump water outside of your home. Check out this video from This Old House to learn how to install a basement sump pump.

Step 4. After your home has been repaired from the storm, relax and enjoy the company of your family. Talk about ways you can prepare for the next storm. Set up plans to exit your home and how to get in touch with one another during an emergency. A little preparation can go a long way in case of another storm or emergency. Almost every state has tips for creating a set of plans in the event of an emergency. Check out Ready America for tips as well.

I hope these suggestions were helpful. If nothing else at least you'll have some things in mind the next time you experience a severe storm or hurricane. If you have any other suggestions or comments please leave them below!

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1 comment:

  1. That's a really very useful tips. People give up very easily and emotionally shattered when they see their homes destroyed in any natural disaster. A contingency plan should always be thought in advance. That would prepare them mentally to deal with such calamity.

    Arnold Brame
    Health And Safety Consultant Lincolnshire