Our thoughts and prayers have been with all the residents of North Carolina, South Carolina and all those hit by hurricane Florence. As you return to your homes, use this checklist to help assess the effects of the storm on your home:

Review Documented Valuables
If you took inventory of your home’s valuables before the storm, be sure to document the condition of each item after the storm. If flooding has taken place in your area, contact your insurance company with a list of damaged items and home structure damage to begin work on your claims.                         

Assess Structural Damage
Walk around your home and document any missing or damaged items. In some cases it may be necessary to hire professional help to assess roof damage. Torn vinyl, lost shingles, objects through windows and damaged seals are just a few things that could result from strong winds.
Beware of Flooding
Flooding in your home can result in mold, cracking, sinking and other problems. Thus water damage is essential to document and get repaired. Again, professionals may need to be hired to remove water from your home. Also stay clear from walking or driving through extremely flooded areas, as bacteria and illness are frequent visitors in the storm waters remaining.
Be Cautious with Electrical Items
After power has returned to your home, do not plug in all appliances at once. Gradually turn them on. Avoid downed power lines and report them to local authorities.
Check for Gas Leaks
Check for gas leaks in and around your home. Do not use candles if your power is still not on. Use flashlights instead in case a leak is present.
Avoid Fumes
Never use a generator indoors- including garages, basements or crawl spaces. Keep generators away from doors and windows as well. Carbon Monoxide is present in fumes from generators.
Steer Clear of Debris
After the storm, debris present in roads and on residential streets present driving hazards. Steer clear of downed trees, broken branches and items strewn by high winds. Report heavy debris in roads to the local authorities.