Southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana have been devastated by Hurricane Harvey. Evacuating and leaving a home after a disaster has a traumatic impact on the displaced. Our hearts go out to all of our friends affected by this storm.
“According to David Roth of the Weather Prediction Center, a tropical cyclone makes landfall along the coastline about three times every four years, and on any 50 mi (80 km) segment of the coastline a hurricane makes landfall about once every six years.” Wikipedia
Returning to normal after a natural disaster like a hurricane as quickly as possible is an important part of the restoration process: as a structure, a family, and a community.
Firstly, FEMA has a great list of resources on their Hurricane Harvey Page including a list of trusted organizations, to register as safe with the Red Cross, and to report a missing child call 1-866-908-9570. There is so much more on their site.
What else should I know?
This what-to-do-next checklist from Paul Davis is an excellent guide for home and business owners who have sustained damage.
What you can do now:
- It’s normal to feel anxiety if you’re evacuated. Wait until officials give the clearance to return. Until then, if you need to talk to someone, FEMA has a National Distress Line 1-800-985-5990.
- It’s important to communicate your safety with your family and loved ones. Be mindful of the time on calls to not overburden phone switchboards and data bandwidth.
- Now is the time for your radio. Listen to news bulletins. Mobile alerts are great, too.
- Keep your personal ID with you and on your person. You will need this for local emergency personnel.
- If you obtain ice during a power outage, double bag it before placing in your fridge or ice chest. Dispose perishable foods that have lost refrigeration.
- Secure valuables such as jewelry, money, important documents, and checks in a safe place.
While Floodwaters Still Exist:
- Please do not leave your home during the night; wait until daylight.
- If you see a down power line, stay away from it. It may be live.
- Stay away from gas lines with open flames (cigarettes or eCigs). Call the gas company.
- As much as you can, children, pets, and elderly should be kept away from standing water.
- Flooded streets and pooled water can be contaminated or electrified. Stay out of buildings and homes that are flooded.
- Don’t start your car if water is above the exhaust pipe as standing water can invade the engine, transmission, differential, and crankcase to contaminate fluids. If the dipstick looks milky, water has contaminated the engine.
- Don’t go sightseeing. You could be mistaken for a looter.
- Mice, rats, snakes and other pests come out after storm water accumulates. Be aware.
- It’s better to drink bottled water. Tap water could very well be contaminated.
- Leave a flooded home and hire a professional restoration firm to secure the structure and assess damage.
- Take pictures or video of all damage to verify insurance claims.
- If your trees fell or were uprooted, allow the power company to evaluate them first. Do not attempt to remove limbs from power lines.
- If standing water is around your home or business, turn off main electrical power and avoid shock hazards.
- Contact your insurance broker or company ASAP. Hire a reputable firm to stop further damage; ask them for a recommendation. Most insurance policies require your good faith effort to minimize additional damage.
- Be wary of unknown workers who may seek to immediately do work after a storm. Check their credentials carefully.
- Before trashing damaged and wet belongings, contact a restoration professional who may be able to clean them completely.
- To reach restoration and emergency services of Paul Davis directly, 24 hours per day, call 1-888-473-7669.