Having a tree fall on your Portland home is something most homeowners just don’t want to think about. In addition to the possibility of injury, the incident can be expensive and leave you without a home for weeks or even month. It’s best to be prepared for when the time comes.
In this month’s blog post, we’re explaining what you should do when a tree falls on your home. We’ll go over who you should contact, what you can do yourself, and what you should never do when faced with this nightmare.
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1. Evacuate Your Home
As always, safety has to be your #1 concern. If you’re home when a tree falls onto your house, the first order of business is to get everybody safely out of the home.
Make sure everyone is okay. Do your best to not move around the home after the tree has fallen by communicating with your family using your voice. The impact may have done structural damage to the home, making it unsafe to walk around. This may not be possible if you have small children, and they should be found as soon as possible to be assisted out of the home.
Once everyone is out, check your family for signs of injury. While a broken arm or any open wounds will be obvious, concussions may not be. While you should hold off on administering any treatment yourself, it will be good to have an idea of any injuries before talking with medical professionals.
Develop a Fallen Tree Safety Plan
It’s a good idea for families, particularly ones based in the Pacific Northwest, to develop a fallen tree safety plan for their family. This will make it easier for everyone to find safety in the event of a fallen tree.
We recommend the following:
- Find a meeting place that is well outside, but still within site of the home. This will allow everyone to know where to find one another and not force someone to search the home unless someone is actually hurt.
- Ensuring all family members know all exits to the home, including windows that can be used as an emergency door if need be.
- Prepare a “go bag” that includes food, jackets, and water in case you are not able to get back inside the house for an extended period of time.
- Have an experienced roofing contractor and lodging options on file just in case.
2. Stay Calm
Panicking is almost never a good idea. This is particularly true if your actions risk both your safety and your home.
Make sure you breathe and remain calm as you go through the nexts steps. Rash decisions are only bound to cause problems, and trying to do too much, or solve an issue that is unsolvable, will only make things worse.
3. Call 911
No matter if someone is injured or not, or whether the branch that fell into the house is big or small, calling 911 should be one of the first things you do. Once you call the authorities, they will help you and let you know further action you can take.
Calling 911 will prompt the following organizations that there is an incident at your home:
- Ambulances and medical personnel. Again, while it may seem as if everyone made it through okay, there is a possibility there’s been a head injury that’s gone undiagnosed.
- Fire crew. A fire crew will help ensure there there’s been no damage that could cause a public safety issue.
- Public utility companies. Public utility companies may come out to your home to ensure there is no danger via an open electrical wire or busted gas line. Just because you cannot see a line down does not mean there is not a possible issue unfolding.
What you should not do is attempt to solve the issue yourself. Even if the branch is small, attempting to get up on your roof is extremely dangerous. Not only will you likely not solve anything, but the roof will be even more dangerous than usual given the possible damage from the tree falling on your home.
4. Call a Roofing Contractor
Now that you know you’re safe and the authorities have been called, the next step is making sure you put yourself on the path towards a reliable new roof.
We recommend doing research and finding a good Portland roofing contractor before anything actually goes wrong with your roof. This way you’ll have someone to call immediately as opposed to doing research while your home is leaking water or choosing a contractor you don’t know will do good work.
What to Look for In a Roofer
When choosing a Portland roofer to have on speed dial, there are some things you should keep in mind…
- Always choose a local roofer. Local contractors are established in town and not just “storm chasers” trying to make a quick buck. They’ll want to do good work since their name and reputation are on the line.
- Experience matters. You know if a roofer has been around for decades that they have done good work. If they hadn’t, they would still be around.
- Make sure they have good reviews and references. Any roofer you work with should have good reviews and be willing to provide references of past work
Can They Do Anything Immediately?
The end goal for any roofing contractor will be to ensure your home is left long-term with a great, long-lasting roof. That said, you roof will possibly be leaking water in the moment and something will be need to be done to stop it.
An experienced roofing contractor will be able to help you by addressing issues that are happening in the moment such as:
- Covering holes in the roof with tarp to stop any leaking
- Fixing any structural damage to the home to ensure no further damage is done
- Cleaning up any water in your home
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5. Make Arrangements for a Place Where You and Your Family Can Stay
Now that your house is back on its way to being dry, you’ll need to make sure you and your family has a place to stay. Some homes will still be able to be lived in, others will not be safe to reside in until work is done.
Similar to a roofing contractor, make sure you have a plan in place before an emergency actually happens. If you plan on staying at a family member’s or friend’s house, make sure you let them know is your plan. If you plan on a hotel, have their contact information ready to go so you can make arrangements as soon as possible.
6. Call Your Insurance Company
Once you’ve settled on a safe place to stay, call your home insurance to confirm if there are any steps they will need you to take. It’s likely that your home insurance will cover at least part of your roof repair, and you’ll want to make sure you’re following their procedures as closely as possible.
Once it’s safe to do so, take pictures of the damage to have on record. Also write down on a pad of paper what happened so when you are interviewed by the insurance company you’ll be able to remember how the event happened.
7. Leave Your Home Secure
Once you’re ready to head out to where you’ll be staying the night, make sure to leave your home as secure as possible. Make sure to…
- Lock all doors and windows
- Remove any valuables from your home
- Take with you any important documents that could be stolen or damaged by weather or wildlife
While an intruder may be able to get into your home through any holes caused by the trees, there is no reason to make it any easier on a burglar.
Ready to Find Your Emergency Roofer?
While it’s impossible to stop the possibility of a tree falling on your roof in the Pacific Northwest, there is no reason you can’t be prepared. Fivecoat Roofing has been the go-to emergency roofer for Portland homeowners since 1972. We are available 24/7 to help you with your emergency roof repair needs.
Have any questions about how to be ready for a roofing emergency or need help with a roofing project (emergency or otherwise)? Contact us online or give us a call at (503) 537-0158 with any questions.