Steps to Take After a Natural Disaster in Chicago

We can take all the precautionary actions necessary to keep ourselves, our home and our family safe and sound —but sometimes, Mother Nature undoes all of our preparation by causing the unexpected.

Natives to Chicago are all too familiar with natural disasters during the winter season. From Chicago ice and snow storms to blizzards and more, natural disasters can be unexpected and unpredictable.

Taking Prior Measures

We’ve all had the one friend from another state who constantly reminds us we live in a city known for its weather. Chicago may be the windy state, but that doesn’t mean that’s the only climate condition that affects the area. Chicago’s weather is as indecisive as the ocean’s everchanging waves, leaving residents unknowing as to whether it’s coming or going. While your first week of winter may be relatively mild and bearable, a Chicago ice and snow storm could strike only a few days after.
You don’t have to live in an area known for unpredictable storms or temperatures to prepare for a disaster, either. In just a span of one month, hurricanes Irma, Maria, Harvey and Jose as well as earthquakes affected individuals from Texas and California to Puerto Rico and Mexico. Everyone should be aware of the weather and conditions that mark their regions to ensure prior preparation before disaster strikes.

What to Do When Disaster Strikes

Many people fall victim to the effects generated by winter conditions and storms. Not only are cold winter days unbearable in and of themselves, but the weather that’s characteristic of winter can also result in icy and slippery road conditions, frozen water pipes, and frostbite or hypothermia.

When severe winter storms or other natural disasters strike, it’s best to remain calm and prioritize the safety of yourself and others. Watch your local news stations or listen to radio broadcasts to stay informed about current weather conditions and to keep up with the latest information.

Remain safely inside your home during ice and snow storms. If you’re on the road, keep a cell phone with you in case of an emergency and drive cautiously with all objects properly secured. Bundle up and bring extra layers, blankets, food and water in case you become unintentionally stranded in the midst of a storm.

If you do get stranded, remain in your car and wait for help to arrive. Make sure to run the engine only occasionally for proper warmth to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, but do prioritize keeping warm to avoid frostbite or hypothermia.

What to Do After the Disaster Hits

While the storm may be over, it likely left a messy mixture of snow, ice and slush behind in the aftermath. While your immediate reaction may be to clean your entire driveway, roof and walkway immediately, make sure to avoid overdoing any strenuous activity. Help elderly neighbors and family shovel their properties and make sure to take adequate breaks in between.

Even when snow is no longer falling from the sky, beware of hitting the roads immediately following a snow or ice storm. Black ice is often unnoticeable, but it can cause catastrophic damage if your car hits it. Avoid venturing out on the roads if necessary until city officials have plowed the roads and laid down salt.

If your pipes froze or burst during the cold winter storm, make sure to turn your home’s thermostat up to at least 55°F immediately. Keep your faucets turned on and thaw the frozen pipes with a hairdryer, heating pad or a hot cloth. If further assistance is needed, make sure to contact your local plumber.

Unfortunately, natural disasters can affect anyone, anywhere, at any given point in the year. Make sure your home remains securely intact and weather-proofed to ensure you and your family are safe, too. If your home does sustain damage after a disaster, contact ServiceMaster of Lincoln Park to help you get your home back to its original state.

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