When you return to a damaged home or business after a tornado, you should take extra precaution to stay safe:
- Check the foundation, porches, and overhangs for damage. If you find obvious damage, ask that a building inspector check the building first.
- Enter the building carefully - if a door sticks at the top as it opens, it could mean the ceiling is ready to cave in. Do not walk under a sagging ceiling until a professional checks it.
- Because of potential gas leaks, do not use any lights, candles, gas lanterns, or torches; use battery-powered flashlights and lanterns.
- If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve, open all windows, and leave the house immediately
- Do not turn on any appliances or switches (this includes home phones and cell phones).
- Notify the gas company, the police, fire departments, or state fire marshal’s office.
- Take pictures of the damage, both to the house and its contents, for insurance purposes.
If you survived a disaster, such as a major tornado, you may be eligible for federal assistance. If the President issued a disaster declaration for your county, you can apply for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). For more information, or to apply over the phone, please call 1.800.621.FEMA (1.800.621.3362).