Posted by Sedgwick’s temporary housing division on
After a tornado, hurricane, or other severe storm, you and your family will be likely overwhelmed by the situation. It’s a good idea to have a plan of action for responding immediately in the event of injury, and also dealing with the losses to your home. In the moments after the storm, you will need to assess the status of your family, and once their safety is ensured, the process of starting an insurance claim can begin. Having a clear head and a preset course of action will help to keep the process streamlined and easier for you and your adjuster.
When the storm passes
Keep the radio on to listen to the national weather alerts. Once you are absolutely certain that the storm has passed and there is no threat of another tornado in the area, assess your family members for any injuries. If there are any minor injuries, use the first aid kit to treat them. If someone is severely injured, do not move them. Seek out first responders and have someone call 911.
Apply pressure to any bleeding wounds, and if they are not breathing, begin CPR. If there is an object that has impaled them, do not remove it—it might seem like the obvious response, however, removing an object can lead to massive hemorrhaging. Wait for a medical professional to assess them. If the person appears to be going into shock, wrap them in the foil blanket from the first aid kit or a warm comforter and try to keep them calm. If you do not suspect broken bones or a broken back or skull injury, try to elevate their legs about a foot above their heart. This will help circulation. If they are vomiting, or there is blood coming from their mouth, turn them onto their side if possible, so they do not choke. Do not give them anything to eat or drink. Try not to panic yourself, as that will make it worse for them—let them know that help is on the way.
Tornado response plan
After attending to the wounded, check on your neighbors and call family members to update them on your status. It’s a good idea to have someone assigned to call certain family members to reach out quicker. Do not try to go through your home if there is damage. Seemingly minor damage can actually create dangerous situations. Be wary of downed power lines, gas leaks from ruptured pipes, or fire hazards. Additionally, avoid trees that have been affected, as they could fall without much warning. Wait until authorities have assessed the damage to your home before reentering.
Getting started with your insurance
Have your claim documents ready when you call your agent and a list of valuables that were in your home. Talk to the adjuster about going to view your home to assess the damage. You’ll need to discuss these topics:
Does the adjuster need to accompany you to the property?
How do they want to have the damage documented?
What items should you bring with you?
What are you covered for?
Finding temporary housing
If your home is not habitable, reach out to your adjuster to get temporary housing set up immediately. Sedgwick’s temporary housing division can provide a hotel room with a kitchen in as few as 15 minutes. If longer-term housing is needed, that can be provided as well. Our colleagues are the experts in finding temporary housing solutions. Together, we can help rebuild your life and keep you and your family safe.
When you are safely able to return to your home take another able-bodied person with you and let others know where you are going and how long you will be there. Take pictures of your property and vehicles if damaged. Be sure to thoroughly document everything. If you are taking pictures with a cell phone, consider uploading them to your cloud system for backup. Consult with your handling adjuster about the various components of your claim.
Sedgwick’s temporary housing division is here for you and your family when disaster strikes—and together, we can help rebuild your life. With training on how to offer compassionate care in the wake of traumatic events, our caretakers not only secure housing, they help disaster victims move past the stress of property damage to effectively navigate the claims process. Our committed team is available 24/7/365 and we are dedicated to providing the helping hand you need in the aftermath of a catastrophe.