Daryl Gilliam of State Farm Insurance Agency in Southfield talks to Fox 2's Murray Feldman about what to do in the event your home is damaged by a weather event.
Play the video to get Gilliam's advice.
Steps to take if your property is damaged. By Staff writer State Farm™ Employee
The period following a natural disaster can be disorienting and dangerous. The following steps will relieve some of the uncertainty and help you stay safe, secure your property, and begin the claims process in the aftermath of a major event.
Wait for an all-clear announcement before leaving your home or shelter. Then, check yourself and the people around you for injuries, applying first aid and seeking further assistance as necessary. Restrict telephone use to emergency calls.
Use your emergency water or boil tap water before drinking until you are told the water supply is safe. Food that came in contact with water may be contaminated and should be discarded. Check refrigerated food for spoilage.
If you must travel, stay away from downed utility lines; washed out, flooded, or debris-filled roads; collapsed or deteriorated bridges and crumbling buildings. If flooding is a potential hazard, stay away from rivers and streams.
Visually inspect your home for structural damage and take reasonable steps to prevent further damage. For example, board up holes with plywood and cover leaks with plastic sheeting.
If it is safe to enter your home, check your water heater and appliances for damage and safety hazards, such as gas leaks and electrical problems. Do your checking with a flashlight, not matches or candles, to prevent igniting leaking gas or other combustible substances. If you smell gas, open windows and turn off the main valve. Don't turn on lights and appliances until the gas has dissipated and the system has been checked. If electric wires are shorting out, turn off the power. If your power is out, unplug all devices to prevent damage from an electrical surge.
Once the structural damage has been addressed, begin salvaging your furnishings and possessions. Dry and clean saturated floors, carpets, furniture, and clothing as soon as possible. Separate items that can be cleaned or repaired from those that will be discarded.
If a major disaster was declared for your area, federal housing assistance may be available. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administers post-disaster housing programs. Otherwise, organizations such as the American Red Cross may offer help. You may want to explore other options, but it's usually best not to enter a long-term lease until you talk to a claim representative. If you're a State Farm customer, access the online claim center.