Power loss Using a generator Assessing damage to your property What should I do before selecting a contractor to make repairs?
In Raleigh, we experience a wide variety of weather events throughout the year. If your property has sustained damage due to a storm event, this information may help you determine what to do next.
Once the storm has passed through the area, there are many important steps to aid in community response and recovery:
- Check the City of Raleigh’s website and the local news coverage for the latest updates.
- Stay alert for extended rainfall and subsequent flooding even after the hurricane or tropical storm has ended.
- Drive only if necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges. Stay off the streets. If you must go out watch for fallen objects; downed electrical wires; and weakened walls, bridges, roads, and sidewalks.
- Inspect your home for damage. Take pictures of damage, both of the building and its contents, for insurance purposes. Walk carefully around the outside your home and check for loose power lines, gas leaks, and structural damage before entering.
- Use battery-powered flashlights in the dark. Do NOT use candles.
- If you evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe.
- Check refrigerated food for spoilage. If in doubt, throw it out. Avoid drinking or preparing food with tap water until you are sure it’s not contaminated.
- Wear protective clothing and be cautious when cleaning up to avoid injury.
- NEVER use a generator inside homes, garages, crawlspaces, sheds, or similar areas, even when using fans or opening doors and windows for ventilation. Deadly levels of carbon monoxide can quickly build up in these areas and can linger for hours, even after the generator has shut off.
- Stay tuned to local radio for information.
- Help injured or trapped persons.
- Give first aid where appropriate.
- Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Call for help.
- Return home only after authorities advise that it is safe to do so.
- Avoid loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company, police, or fire department.
- Enter your home with caution. Beware of snakes, insects, and animals driven to higher ground by flood water.
- Open windows and doors to ventilate and dry your home.
- Check refrigerated foods for spoilage.
- Take pictures of the damage, both to the house and its contents for insurance claims.
- Drive only if absolutely necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges.
- Use telephone only for emergency calls.
Keep your family together and wait for emergency personnel to arrive. Carefully render aid to those who are injured. Stay away from power lines and puddles with wires in them; they may still be carrying electricity! Watch your step to avoid broken glass, nails, and other sharp objects. Stay out of any heavily damaged houses or buildings; they could collapse at any time. Do not use matches or lighters, in case of leaking natural gas pipes or fuel tanks nearby. Remain calm and alert, and listen for information and instructions from emergency crews or local officials.
- If you lose power during a storm event, notify your power company as soon as possible. The company can then begin the process of restoring your power.
- Use flashlights instead of candles to reduce the risk of fire.
- If the meter box on the outside of your home is damaged, call a professional electrician to make repairs before power can be restored.
All repairs must be permitted and inspected by the City of Raleigh to ensure that all code requirements are met. Your power will be reinstated once all repairs are made and City inspectors sign off on all work.
Using a generator
DO NOT use a generator indoors. That includes the garage, carport, basement, crawlspace and other partially-enclosed area, even with ventilation. Opening doors and windows or using fans will not prevent a buildup of carbon monoxide in the home, which can’t be seen or smelled and can be deadly.
Assessing damage to your property
Use extreme caution when assessing damage to your home and property. It may be difficult to see downed power lines or sharp objects, such as glass and exposed nails. It is also possible that a dangerous structural, electrical or gas-leak hazard exists. To prevent injuries resulting from such hazards, turn off the power at the breaker box and contact your gas company to shut off the gas to the building. Then contact a professional to determine the extent of the damage.
If there is property damage
- Notify your landlord.
- Put requests for repairs in writing.
- Take photos and document the damage. • Notify your rental insurance company of any personal property loss.
- Contact your insurance company.
- If you do not have a homeowner’s insurance policy or don’t want to file a claim, you may choose to act as your own contractor or call a contractor* to assess the damage. (If acting as your own contractor, you may be asked by the City to complete a form).
- Your insurance agent will likely send an adjuster to the property to survey the damage. Once this is done, debris removal can begin and a plan for making repairs will be made.
What should I do before selecting a contractor to make repairs?
Be cautious when selecting a contractor to repair or rebuild your home. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for scammers to prey on storm victims. Be sure to check references and contact the Better Business Bureau to ensure that you are hiring a reputable contractor. Get an accurate evaluation and estimate for the work to be done, as well as a cost of construction and replacement items. Shop around and get multiple quotes before making a final selection.
Carefully read contracts and documentation associated with the work to be done and only sign it if you agree. Lastly, determine who will be responsible for obtaining the required permits and requesting inspections from the City. If the contractor agrees to obtain the permits, ask for a copy of the permits for your files. The permits, also known as “yellow cards,” are required to be displayed at the job site. If the work is not permitted and therefore not inspected, there is no way to ensure that it is safe for habitation. Unpermitted work may also pose problems for anyone trying to sell their property in the future.