After you and your family have made it through the high winds and torrential rain, you’ll be eager to start the cleanup process in and around your residential property. However, since there may be many things needing to be done, you may feel overwhelmed and wonder where to start. Different types of storms can cause different damage areas and of varying severity. Some of these areas will actually be quite dangerous for you to clean up on your own and could require many hands or even professional assistance. To make sure your property gets cleaned up efficiently and safely after a big storm, follow these steps.

Inspect Outside Connections

Following a strong storm, you should always inspect your home’s outside connections as soon as it is safe to do so. If you believe problems do exist with electrical lines or with your home’s water or gas connections, always contact the utility company or your city’s Public Works department.

If you do notice that the power, gas, or water is out in your home, check with your neighbors to see if theirs is out as well. If they have electricity and you do not, you may want to check your fuse box. Make sure that the fuse box is not wet or surrounded by water and that your hands are not wet while you are working on it. If your neighbors are also without power there is a chance that a power line is down near you. Do not approach a fallen power line but do contact your public works officials to let them know about it. Similarly, if you suspect that your gas and water are out, check with your neighbors first and if theirs are out as well, contact the appropriate utility companies.

Assess Your Roof’s Damage

From loose and missing shingles to problems with flashing, it is likely your roof suffered extensive damage during a big storm. When these problems develop, chances are your roof will be leaking. Therefore, prior to contacting a residential roofing repair company, take a look in your attic for wet insulation and beams with damp spots. This can be a sign that you have some repairs that need to be made. When the repair company comes, they can take care of missing shingles, loose shingles, or holes that you’ve noticed. They will also be able to work on the job more safely and quickly than you could likely do on your own.

Do not go out to assess your roof if it is still windy or raining outside. This can put you at serious risk of falling and hurting yourself. Any damage that needs to be assessed or repaired can wait until it is completely safe to do so.

Secure Your Property

As part of the cleanup process for your residence, always take steps to make it as secure as possible until repairs can be made. To do so, board up any broken windows and secure broken doors. If you fail to do so and your home is subject to vandalism or looting, your home insurance policy may not cover not only what was lost, but also the repairs that are needed.

Do not stay at your property to guard it if it is not safe to stay there. Your personal health and safety are more valuable than the belongings in your home. If many homes in your neighborhood are in similar condition, you may be able to request a police officer patrol the area to watch for vandals. If only your home has been severely damaged you may be able to have your neighbors keep an eye on your home while you are staying elsewhere.

Don’t Throw Away Everything

If you have furniture that is broken or soaked, carpeting that is ruined, or appliances that no longer work, resist the temptation to have everything hauled off to a nearby landfill. Instead, put it in a corner of your yard where it won’t be in your way. By doing so, you will have plenty to show the insurance adjuster when they arrive.

Once you have had all of your damage assessed it may be too big of a job for you to get rid of all of your broken property on your own. You may want to consider hiring a disaster clean up team to come and haul away some of your property and even tear out carpets or drywall that has been damaged.

Cut Broken Tree Branches

Finally, make it a priority to cut any broken tree branches that are near your home. If you don’t, you may have a large tree limb coming through your windows or roof, which will compound an already big problem. If you can’t safely do this job yourself, don’t hesitate to call in a professional tree company for assistance. Ideally this job should be done before a big storm arrives, but it will also be crucial to do after a storm to ensure that your house does not suffer further damage.

While it can be an arduous and possibly emotional experience, taking the proper steps to clean up your property after a large storm will not only keep you and your family safer, but also make it easier to get your insurance claim approved. Follow the steps provided here to get yourself on the right path for cleaning up your home.