Storms are an ever-present danger for homesteaders and ranch owners in the United States. Anyone who has a homestead and is engaged in the husbandry of horses will tell you that life on a ranch demands diligence. Not only will you work throughout the year to safeguard your family and horses from potential storms, but you may also face the unpleasant task of storm recovery. Here are three tasks you should perform immediately after a storm.
Identify the Damage
Once the storm has passed, your first obligation is to make sure everyone on the homestead is okay. That includes the horses in your care. Storms can create intense stress for your animals.
Next, you will want to make a thorough evaluation of the property itself to identify storm damage. Begin by inspecting homes, barns and other buildings. Owens Corning recommends that you should note any damage to roofs, including missing shingles or barn tin. Check for broken windows and other damage that will compromise the integrity of structures.
Checking fence lines for damage is critical. This is an area that will likely need immediate repair so that your livestock is not put at risk. It is important that you prioritize the repair of storm damage. Make an estimate of the damages that your homestead has suffered. You’ll need this when you contact your insurance company. It might also be useful to photograph damaged areas.
Clean What You Can
After a storm, it is time to get to work. You should clean what you can. Always place safety first when attempting to move debris. Above all, beware of electricity. If there are downed power lines on your property, halt your work until service professionals can resolve this issue. Never try to fix this yourself, even if you have some electrical experience.
Frank’s Tree Service warns that after a storm, trees are major potential hazards. Branches could be barely hanging on or only supported by other branches. A fallen tree could conceal more damage or take out major structures or supports. Trees also make good concealments for venomous snakes and other animals on your farm that are rarely seen. Take care when stacking debris and sorting trees.
Fixing fences is also critical. The job of cleaning up will seem overwhelming. Don’t try to do it alone. This is a time for the whole family to get involved and pitch in.
Notify Your Insurance Provider
ClaimsMate suggests that a call to your insurance provider is in order once you have assessed the damage and conducted a basic clean up. The sooner you make this call, the better. Letting time pass could hinder your ability to recover some of your expenses. You’ll want to have all the necessary information on hand, such as your homeowner’s policy, photographs and statements, when an adjuster arrives.
Riding out storms and the damage they cause is a part of rural life. That doesn’t mean you can’t recover. Be proactive and stick to a sound recovery plan.
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