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prepare for a hurricane

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 or tropical storm, 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 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 Repair
Evaluating and attempting to repair structural damage should not be attempted by an amateur. Unless you are a certified contractor, you could hurt yourself, cause additional damage to your home, or overlook serious safety issues.

While you are in the process of hiring a contractor, you can still take steps to mitigate further hurricane damage. If you can safely access your roof, cover the area with a tarp to prevent additional damage, 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 access your roof due to 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 help mitigate further damage by covering broken windows with plywood or plastic.

Ceiling Damage
If your ceilings look saggy after a hurricane, it's likely because they are water damaged. Some ceilings have too many sags and cracks to salvage, which requires a ceiling replacement. It's best to bring in an expert to diagnose the problem and avoid further damage or injury. If it's safe to do so, you can use lumber or 4-by-4s to brace sagging ceilings or walls until help arrives, and remove wet insulation1 to speed up the drying process.

There are DIY repairs - and then there are hurricane damage repairs. Here’s what NOT to DIY after a storm:
Exposed Wires
If you find damaged, frayed, or exposed electrical wires during post-storm inspection, turn off your electricity if it is safe to do so. Do not turn it back on until an electrician has evaluated and made necessary hurricane damage repairs.

Fallen Trees
If a tree falls onto your home, especially your roof, you should have a contractor evaluate for structural damage. Large trees or complicated removals can be dangerous, and shouldn't be attempted without an arborist or roof specialist to help assess the safest way to remove the tree and prevent additional damage.

Gas Leaks
If your home smells like sulfur or rotten eggs after a hurricane, 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 – even a cell phone can accidentally cause a spark or static electrical charge that can ignite the leaking gas and cause an explosion2.
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