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prepare for a storm

Getting ready for a storm is critical. Building a plan can help you stay safe, mitigate damage and make the recovery process as smooth as possible. This MasterKit will guide you through the steps you should take ahead of time, so you'll be ready to take action when a storm hits.
Roof Repairs
Article / 3 MINS

(Don't) Do It Yourself: Hurricane Repairs to Leave to the Pros

In the aftermath of a storm, the safest way to handle hurricane damage is to bring in the professionals.

If your home is impacted by a hurricane, tropical storm or tornado, your first instinct may be to start fixing things yourself. But sometimes the damage is too dangerous to attempt without the help of a professional. Here's a list of hurricane and tornado damage repairs you shouldn't attempt without a professional, along with a few things you can do to mitigate the damage while you wait.

Roof Repairs
Evaluating and attempting to repair structural damage should not be done by anyone inexperienced with this kind of work. Unless you are a certified contractor, you could hurt yourself, cause additional damage to your home, or overlook other serious safety issues.

While you are in the process of hiring a contractor, you can still take steps to mitigate further damage. If you can safely access your roof, cover any damaged areas with a tarp, reattach loose shingles with asphalt roof cement, and patch up any other minor issues that can be fixed with nails or cement. If you're not sure whether it's safe to climb on your roof due to the damage, wait until a professional arrives.

Window Replacement
It takes a special set of tools and skills to completely replace a window – and a storm-damaged window may pose further complications or safety risks. So don't try to fix it yourself. But, you can prevent more problems by covering broken windows with plywood or plastic.

Ceiling Damage
If your ceilings are sagging after a hurricane or tornado, it's likely because they have water damage. Sometimes a ceiling will have too many sags and cracks to be repaired and will need to be replaced instead. Bring in an expert to diagnose the problem and avoid further damage or risk injuring yourself. If it's safe to do so, use lumber or 4-by-4s to brace a sagging ceiling and remove wet insulation to speed up the drying process until your contractor can professionally repair it.1

There are DIY home repairs - and then there is major storm damage to leave to the pros. Here's how to know the difference.
Exposed Wires
If you find damaged, frayed, or exposed electrical wires during a post-storm inspection, turn off your electricity at the main breaker in your breaker box if it's safe to do so. Do not turn it back on until an electrician has evaluated and made necessary storm damage repairs.

Fallen Trees
If a tree falls onto your home, you should have a contractor evaluate the building for structural damage. Large trees typically require complicated and at times dangerous removals that shouldn't be attempted without an arborist or roof specialist to assess safety and prevent additional damage to your home or nearby structures.

Gas Leaks
If you smell sulfur or rotten eggs after a hurricane or tornado, get away from the building and call your local fire department and gas company immediately. If you have already entered the building and begin to smell gas, evacuate quickly and be sure not to operate any light switches, garage doors, or electronic devices. A cell phone can accidentally cause a spark or static electrical charge that ignites the leaking gas and causes an explosion.2
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