Pictured is a Scioto Properties home in Texas after Hurrican Katrina
September is Emergency Preparedness Month
Our team, customer service, and our quick responsiveness in emergency situations is what sets us apart from other organizations. Here is an article written by Lou Griffith, ASLA, the Maintenance and Construction Coordinator for Scioto Properties.
Severe weather can happen in any part of the country at any time. Having a good plan in place and being prepared in the event of a weather emergency is essential to make sure that your basic needs are met and that you can be safe. Understand the type of hazardous weather that affects the area where you live.
Keep in mind, preparations will be subject to your local jurisdiction, mandates for evacuation, and response based on the safety and needs of your area.
If you should be asked to evacuate a home, here are a few things that you can do that can help prevent greater damage to the home:
Utilities: If you are evacuating the home, turn off ALL utilities at the main source. Water and gas lines, and main electrical breakers should be turned off at the source. This will protect both the home, and any first responder efforts if there should be a need to check the property in case of catastrophic damage.
Personal Effects: Most of the damage from any storm is from flooding. Even in inland areas not effected by storm surge or high winds, flooding is the biggest issue. Placing personal property in water tight containers and as high off the floor as possible may help preserve these items should water enter the home. Use best judgement on what to take, and what to secure in place. This will also include food and water supplies left at the home, as those items will undoubtedly be in short supply immediately after the event.
Insurance: Know your insurance policy and contact numbers and take that information with you to enable you to file a claim. This information may not be available in a total loss situation. Once a claim has been reported and an adjuster assigned, you will need to coordinate remediation and restoration efforts. Keep good records of all communications with the adjuster and all your contractors.
Photos: Please take a few general photos of the inside and outside of the home before you leave. Broad area photographs capturing as much of the home as possible is helpful in expediting the restoration and recovery processes. Don’t worry about the details, just what things look like before you leave. In a flooding situation, identify high water areas with fixed items, that may help show how far the water has risen.
Notification: Use caution and safety protocol once you can return to the home. Insurance carriers will need to be notified of the scope and severity of any damage reported, and time is of the essence here. A quick response will allow you to get remediation and restoration companies to assess the damage to the home. Again, photos are essential especially for after the weather emergency. Photos showing high water marks on walls, and other areas in the home will help adjusters assess the true extent of the damage. Adjusters and contractors will get a lot of calls, so if you are at the top of the list, they will get to you quickly. It can sometimes take days to complete the after-storm assessment for each home.
We encourage you to follow your own evacuation protocol and have a quick list of things that will need to be done if there is damage to the home.
Lou Griffith, ASLA, is the Maintenance and Construction Coordinator for Scioto Properties. He works with disability providers managing and coordinating the maintenance and repair of the over 1500 Scioto Properties homes across the country.