Spring is quickly approaching, which means drastic temperature changes in Texas and the possibility of severe thunderstorms that spawn dangerous tornadoes. There's a lot to be said about how to stay safe if one of these twisters strikes, but what do you do after one of these powerful storms hits?

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Make Sure Everyone Is Safe

Tornado Causes Damage In Bertram, Texas
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If you and your family have experienced a natural disaster, such as a tornado, the first step is to make sure everyone in the home is accounted for and safe. It is important to remember that everything else can wait. Seek the help of first responders if you or someone around you has been injured or if people or pets from your household are missing.

Use Extreme Caution

Six Dead, Major Damage After Tornado Outbreak In North Texas
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A natural disaster can create new safety hazards both inside and outside of your home. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a study of injuries after a tornado showed that 50 percent of the storm-related injuries were suffered during rescue attempts, cleanup, and other post-tornado activities.

It’s important to watch out for post-storm issues such as broken glass, exposed nails, unstable structures, electrical wiring, and contaminated water. Inform local officials if you see downed power lines, washed-out roads, or additional changes that could pose a threat to the community.

If your home has been damaged, a good rule of thumb is to shut off all electrical power, propane, and natural gas to avoid explosions, fire, or electrocution.

Secure Your Property

Multiple Tornadoes Touch Down In Dallas-Fort Worth Area
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If possible, make sure to secure your property against any further damage. Take photos and extensively document damage caused by the storm. If you make any immediate repairs, save all receipts in a designated envelope to later submit to your insurance company. During this time, be especially wary of home repair scams.

READ MORE: Deadliest Tornadoes in Texas

Contact Your Insurance Company

Multiple Tornadoes Touch Down In Dallas-Fort Worth Area
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Reach out to your insurance representative to file a claim immediately following the event. Due to the fact that many around you were likely affected by the natural disaster, it may take insurance companies longer than usual to process claims and to dispatch adjusters to the scene.

If you can no longer reside in your home, check to see if your homeowner or renter insurance policy provides limited coverage for a hotel and additional expenses like food and gas.

Register for Federal Disaster Assistance

Widespread Damage And Casualties After Tornadoes Rip Through Arkansas
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Visit https://www.disasterassistance.gov or call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362)/1-800-462-7585 (TTY) to register for disaster assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Keep in mind during this time that your home insurance policy will be your primary source of coverage.

Hopefully, you and your family will never have to experience the devasting effects that these tornadoes have on thousands of Texans each year. But knowing what to do after such a gut-wrenching event can definitely go a long way in healing afterward.

 

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