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What Should Homeowners Do After a Tornado?

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What Should Homeowners Do After a Tornado?

If the recent Chicagoland tornadoes have taught us anything, it’s that storm damage can be devastating.  But it also showed us the humanity of living in a large community, with neighbors helping neighbors and strangers lending a hand physically and emotionally.  Living in the Midwest makes us vulnerable to tornadoes and storm damage, but no drill can prepare us for an event that ravages our home.

Pro-Homes Services is here to arm you with protective vigilance. Should the unthinkable ever happen, we want you to be prepared to do what you can to protect yourself, your loved ones and your home.

Safety First

Storm damage can pose serious threats, from downed power lines to debris of various types.  Before you do anything, make sure the storm has passed.  Once you have established this, you may proceed from shelter.  Follow these tips below to ensure safety comes first:

  • If someone is injured, call for medical assistance immediately.
  • Watch for downed power lines or utility lines, especially while driving. Stay away and call 911 or the utility company.
  • If you are trapped, cover your mouth to avoid breathing in dust. Use your phone to text, bang on a pipe, or use a whistle (a good item to add to emergency kits).
  • If power is out, conserve you phone battery as much as possible to alert friends/family of your whereabouts. Use battery powered lights; do not use candles or open flames.
  • If you smell gas or something burning while the power is out, turn off the circuit breaker, natural gas, and propane gas.

Damage Assessment

A tornado is a violent windstorm, that can cause a path of destruction whether you are 10 feet or several miles away from it.  It moves like blender, and can suck up trees, homes, cars, poles, etc. which then become projectiles, causing major damage for miles. Roof damage is the one of the most common results of windstorms.  The sheathing and other roofing material can be torn off, and trees can topple onto roofs. Rain from the accompanying storms can further compromise the structure of a roof.

Once the dust has settled, it is important to assess the storm damage to your home. Start with the exterior because if there has been significant damage to the exterior of your home, it may make the interior unsafe. Your home may need to be first inspected by the fire department.

Once outside, it is important to inspect not only to your roof but the entire perimeter of your home.  Follow the tips below for a proper inspection.

Exterior Inspection

  • Look for missing, curling or torn tiles, shingles, and shakes. Look for gaps in your roof from missing flashings. This, along with chimney damage, can heavily damage your roof during the next rain event.
  • Walk around the entire area of your home and take pictures for insurance
  • Take note of curling, torn, or dented shingles.
  • DO NOT get on the roof! This should be left to the professionals who can inspect it safely.
  • Note the condition of the roofline’s gutters, soffits, and vents
  • Check windows for any broken or in need of replacement.
  • Check for any peeled or missing siding. Vinyl siding can crack or split, and aluminum siding can dent or break off entirely.

Attic Inspection

If and when it is considered safe, inspect the attic for leaks. Even if the home may not look damaged on the outside, but there could be unseen damage within your home. Start with the attic and work your way to the ceilings.  Water inside your home is a sure sign of roof damage.

Immediate Mitigation

Once you have completed your inspections, make sure your home is protected in the short term.  For example, immediately following the recent tornados, Pro-Home Services was able to assist homeowners with emergency tarping of their roof before heavy rains pummeled the area again. Although a short term solution, contacting a roofing professional for tarping, is a must.

Seeking Repairs

For a long-term solution, call your insurance agent and find out what is covered under your insurance policy.  After a storm, you will undoubtedly be approached by storm chasers who will mysteriously call or show up at your door. They are often from out of town and will fix your roof, then disappear without a trace and be nowhere to be found if things go wrong. Instead, find a professional roofing company, like Pro-Home Services, who is established in the area with a solid reputation for quality and guaranteed service.

If your home has sustained any kind of roof damage or storm damage, big or small, call Pro-Home Services.  We are licensed, bonded, insured, and here to help all homeowners and businesses alike, through this harrowing time. For a free estimate call (630)790-0800.

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