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Do These 25 ‘Right Things’ After Hurricane Matthew

The shoreline communities of Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina have enjoyed a long hiatus without life-threatening Atlantic storms. This week’s Hurricane Matthew ended that peaceful period. This what-to-do-next checklist from Paul Davis is an excellent guide for home and business owners who have sustained damage.

  1. When family, friends and neighbors are uninjured and safe, be thankful.
  2. Let loved ones know you’re safe, but avoid frequent and long calls to free up phone and data bandwidth.
  3. Pay attention to news bulletins – radio, TV and online if possible. Mobile alerts, too.
  4. If you evacuated, don’t get anxious. Wait until officials announce an all-clear to return.
  5. If you stayed home, wait until daylight before venturing outdoors.
  6. You can’t be sure if a downed power line is live, so stay away from it. Powerful storms bring down many electric lines.
  7. If you suspect a gas leak, also stay away and alert the gas company. Avoid any chance that a cigarette or flame could ignite it.
  8. Keep young children, the elderly, and pets under your watchful eye and away from debris and standing water.
  9. Avoid flooded streets and pooled water. Stay out of flooded homes and buildings.
  10. Large uprooted or fallen trees and their limbs may also bring down power lines. If yours did, let the power company deal with it first.
  11. Don’t start your car if water is above the exhaust. Standing water can invade the engine, transmission, differential and crankcase to contaminate fluids. Check the dipstick. If it looks milky, that signals water contamination.
  12. Have personal IDs with you — driver’s license or other photo ID in case you need to show this to local emergency personnel.
  13. Don’t go sightseeing. You could be mistaken for a looter.
  14. Mice, rats, snakes and other pests come out after storm water accumulates. Be aware.
  15. Drink bottled water or boil all tap water before drinking. It may have been contaminated.
  16. If standing water is around your home or business, turn off main electrical power and avoid shock hazards.
  17. Leave a flooded home and hire a professional restoration firm to secure the structure and assess damage.
  18. Take pictures or video of all damage to verify insurance claims.
  19. Contact your insurance broker or company ASAP, but do hire a reputable firm to stop further damage. Most insurance policies require your good faith effort to minimize additional damage.
  20. Be wary of unknown workers who may seek to immediately do work after a storm. Check their credentials carefully.
  21. During a continued power outage, obtain ice if possible and double bag it to place in a refrigerator, freezer or ice chests.
  22. Perishable foods that have lost refrigeration and spoiled should be disposed of.
  23. Secure valuables such as jewelry, money, important documents, and checks and place in a safe place.
  24. Before trashing damaged and wet belongings, contact a restoration professional who may be able to clean them completely.
  25. To reach restoration and emergency services of Paul Davis directly, 24 hours per day, call 1-888-473-7669