After the Storm
WHN TIP – Injuries? Call 911 immediately. Describe any injuries and listen to the dispatcher’s instructions.
- Be safe, be smart.
- Avoid driving until conditions have improved. Roads may be blocked by snow or emergency vehicles or be impassable for days following a blizzard. Watch the local media reports for traffic info.
- If you have to go outside, be prepared:
- Dress in warm layers.
- Wear hat, scarf and mittens — they are warmer than gloves.
- Walk carefully and watch out for ice, snow and other conditions.
- Let others know where you are going and when you plan to return.
- Watch out for fallen, loose or dangling power lines — keep back and warn others. Call your electric supply authority with the exact location of the downed line.
- Clear snow from decks — snow is heavy and can strain the wood. Also, clear driveway and walkways.
- Clear out snow from storm drains, on and around fire hydrants, and downspouts from your home. Be safe and be careful when doing this.
- Know how to deal with ice dams.
WHN TIP – Avoid overexertion: Shoveling is hard work. Warm up before shoveling, push the snow rather than lift it, watch for ice, pace yourself, be sure to drink water while you’re outside, and ask for help if you need it.
Working With Authorities, Organizations, and Contacting Others
After the blizzard, local and regional authorities — such as a sheriff or police officers, firefighters, ambulance services and state or municipal service workers — may be dispatched to severely affected areas. Relief organizations and volunteers might be dispatched as well.
It’s a hard time; yet remember to tell interested friends and relatives that you are safe.
Depending on the severity of the storm, the time it takes to receive financial assistance may vary. Remember to contact all possible options for assistance: your insurance agent, the Red Cross, The Salvation Army, other faith-based organizations, and other options.
WHN TIP – Insurance Information: Review our Insurance Section for tips on filing a claim and dealing with insurance adjusters.
WHN TIP – Our ARTICLES AND MORE section has articles on navigating FEMA, SBA and the federal disaster relief and assistance process.
Document the Damage
- If at all possible, take the time to document the damage now. This will help with your insurance claims. Be careful around gas, electrical and other utilities – read our article Returning Home After a Disaster: What Supplies to Bring for more.
- Need help spotting and documenting exterior damage after a storm? Read How to Spot Storm Damage – good tips from a catastrophe insurance adjuster.
- Need to make repairs or rebuild your home? Read 4 Steps to Rebuilding and Renovating a Damaged Home.
WHN Expert TIP – Water Damage Clean-Up Tips: Greg Kistler, a ServPro cleanup and restoration specialist from South Washington County in Minnesota, provides water damage cleanup advice in this podcast.
- Replace the items used from your Home Disaster Preparedness Kit and your Car Emergency Kit.
- Review and update your emergency plan.
- Take the time to evaluate what you would do differently if you had the chance.
- Be sure to evaluate all aspects of your emergency preparedness plan.
- Read Blizzard – Get Prepared for more preparedness tips.
The information provided here is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical or legal advice. These tips are from first responders, lawyers, insurance agents and people who have shared real-life advice; always check with a doctor, lawyer or appropriate professional you trust before making any legal or healthcare-related decisions.
Thank You …
A special thank you to the first responders, emergency workers, government officials, lawyers, insurance agents and people who gave us their time, insight and real-life advice.