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Over the last two months, we’ve shared tips to help homeowners reinforce their homes, organize key documents, and put together kits to prepare ahead of time for a hurricane. While proper preparation can help make clean up easier, there are important steps your residents should be aware of if a storm does hit your community. In the case your community is impacted by a hurricane, be sure to share the following recovery tips with your residents.

Don’t begin clean up on your own

According to Forbes, a common mistake many homeowners make after a storm is starting to clean up the aftermath on their own. “In the event of property damage, homeowners should not try to mitigate the destruction themselves — not only for obvious safety reasons but also because it may cause further damage.” Forbes recommends reaching out to your insurance provider immediately, as well as documenting damage with photos and videos, as well as personal notes to take inventory of the destruction.

Beware of hazards

Residents must use extreme caution when coming back to the neighborhood to assess damage both inside and outside of their home. It’s recommended that residents wear proper attire including goggles, masks, heavy-duty work gloves, and waterproof boots to protect themselves from the elements. Residents should be aware of the following hazards, both inside and outside of their home:

  • Live wires
  • Mold
  • Snakes and other displaced critters
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Tree branches
  • Broken glass

Use extreme caution when moving piles of debris, as this is a great hiding spot for poisonous snakes and other creatures seeking refuge from the storm. Check out this article from North Carolina State University for tips on dealing with snakes after a storm.

Save everything

If you do begin clean up on your own, it’s important to keep debris and damaged items as evidence for your insurance provider. Take comprehensive photos of the property and gather debris in a pile, rather than tossing it out. Never throw anything away until an insurance adjuster has visited the property. If you purchase items to help with clean up, be sure to keep detailed receipts of these transactions to simplify the process of being reimbursed.

Explore loan options

If your community is located in a presidentially designated disaster area, your residents can apply for an FHA 203(h) loan. This loan is designated to help rebuild or replace severely damaged or destroyed homes. These loans do not require a down payment, however, residents need to move quickly to ensure they get one. Residents can only apply for a 203(h) loan within one year of the disaster.

Looking for tips to keep your community safe and secure before, during, and after a storm? Download our helpful checklist!