Beware of outdoor hazards – such as loose and dangling power lines. Report them immediately to the proper agency.
- Do not go outside until the radio or TV announces that the dangerous winds are definitely out of your area.
- Do not go outside barefooted. Avoid wearing open shoes and watch for sharp debris.
- Walk or drive cautiously. Debris-filled streets are dangerous. Snakes and poisonous insects will be a hazard. Washouts may weaken road and bridge structures which could collapse under vehicle weight.
- Keep a battery-operated radio with you so you can listen for emergency updates and news reports.
- Use a battery-powered flash light to inspect a damaged home. Note: The flashlight should be turned on outside before entering - the battery may produce a spark that could ignite leaking gas, if present.
- If you smell gas or hear a hissing or blowing sound, open a window and leave immediately. Turn off the main gas valve from the outside, if you can. Call the gas company from a neighbor's residence. If you shut off the gas supply at the main valve, you will need a professional to turn it back on. Do not smoke or use oil, gas lanterns, candles or torches for lighting inside a damaged home until you are sure there is no leaking gas or other flammable materials present.
- Check the electrical system unless you are wet, standing in water or unsure of your safety. If possible, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If the situation is unsafe, leave the building and call for help. Do not turn on the lights until you are sure they're safe to use. You may have to have an electrician inspect your wiring.
- Know what to do if you are returning to a flooded home (See Flooding).
- Guard against spoiled food (See Food and Refrigerators & Freezers). Use perishable food first, then non-perishable foods and staples after.
- If pipes are damaged, turn off the main water valve. Check wsith local authorities before using any water; the water could be contaminated. Pump out wells and have the water tested by authorities before drinking. Do not flush toilets until you know that sewage lines are intact.
- Do not use water until you know it is safe.
- Take extra precautions to prevent fires. Lowered water pressure in city mains and the interruption of other services may make firefighting difficult after a hurricane.
- Protect property from further damage. Plastic sheeting, plywood, lumber or any other material can be used to seal or protect property if it has been exposed by the storm. Make temporary repairs as necessary. Insurance companies will almost always pay for these and similar expenses. (save receipts)
- Notify insurance representatives of any losses
- Take photographs or a video of the damaged area to substantiate your claim.
- Survey the damage to your home and compare it to the pictures printed from the Broward County Home Damage Assessment Program that best represents the condition of you home for damage level and/or flood level. Call the Broward County Hurricane Hotline at 3-1-1 to phone in a damage assessment report. If you still have power and access to the Internet, return to the Damage Assessment Program page and click on "Report Your Damage."
- Prepare a detailed inventory of damaged or destroyed property for the adjustor. Include a description of the item, date of purchase, cost at time of purchase, estimated replacement cost.
- If you must leave the building, make sure it is secured and protected from further damage. Leave a note in a conspicuous place advising where you can be reached.
- Be patient. Hardship cases will be settled first by insurance representatives. Do not assume your settlement will be the same as your neighbors. In a major catastrophe, the insurance industry will have emergency offices and extra manpower to expedite claim settlements and to speed recovery.
Updated March 2015