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Safety After Severe Storms

Know how to deal after a thunderstorm, tornado or hurricane has passed through.

Severe weather can be dangerous — flooding roads, damaging homes, down power lines and more even when the storm clouds pass. Here are some precautions to follow in the aftermath of severe storms. And remember, as with any project, beware of untrustworthy contractors who are looking to cash in on repairs.

After a Severe Thunderstorm

  • Avoid driving if possible. If you have to travel, turn around if the road is flooded or blocked by debris.
  • Stay away from downed power lines. Anything touching the power line can carry a charge. Report the downed line and avoid the area.
  • Clean up or rope off dangerous areas. Cover hail- or wind-damaged windows with tarps and plywood until an inspector can assess the damage.

After a Tornado

  • Wear appropriate clothing. Sturdy, closed-toe shoes or boots, long sleeves and gloves are best for inspecting damage and handling debris.
  • Avoid using candles or torches to inspect damage. Sparks from an open flame could ignite a fire or cause a gas-related explosion in a damaged building.
  • Shut off the power if you smell something burning, see frayed or sparking wires, or suspect a gas leak. Turn off the main circuit breaker and the natural gas and propane tanks.
  • Use caution around debris. Sharp objects, broken glass, or exposed nails may cause injuries that could lead to infection.

After a Hurricane

  • Be cautious around electronics. Do not turn on wet appliances. If appliances are plugged in, turn off the power at the circuit breaker and have an electrician inspect appliances before you use them again.
  • Throw away spoiled food. Toss perishables as well as any food that has come in contact with flood or storm water.
  • Avoid tap water. Public water may be contaminated after a severe storm. Use bottled water for drinking, washing hands and dishes, brushing teeth, and making ice.

The State Farm® Weather and Catastrophe Team — the largest team and fleet in the insurance industry — assess damage and provide help for State Farm policyholders affected by various natural disasters. If your home sustains damage in a severe storm, contact your State Farm agent to fill out a storm damage claim or visit the claims help section of

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm®. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under our policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.

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