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What to Do After a Damaging Thunderstorm

Whether you rode out the storm or are returning to your building for the first time, it can be overwhelming, even with minor damage. These steps will guide you through the process.

Here’s Where to Start

Once it is safe to return to your building, note any damage that must be repaired by a professional and damage that can be corrected as a do-it-yourself task. The key is to get started safely.

Checklist: Last-minute Prep & Recovery After Damage
Quick, last-minute actions you can take and steps to recover quickly.


1. Protect staff and customers.

  • First, ensure everyone is safe. 
  • Do not enter a damaged building unless you are told it’s safe to do so by local officials.  
  • Do not wade through standing water or step in pools of water. 
  • Avoid downed power lines and assume all lines are live. 
  • Report downed power lines, fire, or gas leaks to local utility companies. 
Tree branch stuck on electrical wires after a heavy storm. Sao Paulo, Brazil.

2) Assess and document damage.

  • Document damage to your business. Take photos and videos of damaged equipment and inventory. 
  • Assess your roof for damage: 
    • Check the ceiling for water spots or stains. If you have an attic, go inside to look for evidence of water damage or standing water. 
    • If you have a low-slope roof with safe access, look for any damaged materials, loose or missing mechanical units, and ponding or standing water.  
    • If damage is noted, hire a licensed and insured contractor to repair and mitigate to protect against future damage. 
  • After a hailstorm, look for roof damage, dents to gutters, HVAC units, screens, flashing, or downspouts. Check wall cladding and windowsills.  
Commercial building destroyed by hurricane winds

3) Contact your insurer right away.

  • If your building is damaged, contact your insurance agent or insurer as soon as possible. Be ready to provide critical information such as contact info, policy number, type and date of loss, a description of the loss, and your business inventory. You should be assigned a claim number and adjuster who will work with you. 
3- Contact insurer

4) Keep receipts.

  • If you need to temporarily relocate business operations, keep records and receipts of all additional expenses.  
  • Keep all receipts and documentation for purchases or services rendered.  
  • Consider creating an electronic file for this information in a cloud storage account so you can access it from anywhere. 
Stressed asian man using smartphone calculating receipt payment, monthly expenses, taxes, bank account balance and , Income is not enough, no money in pocket for expenses

5) Communicate with staff and customers.

  • Update status of operations:  
    • Employees: Emergency hotlines/email/intranet 
    • Customers: Website/social media/phone calls 
  • Designate times for key staff to dial in or join online meetings for situation overviews. 
Employees must complete the online survey form, answer the test questions. Marked checklist on a clipboard. Human resources and management concept

6) Take steps to mitigate further damage.

  • Cover broken windows or damaged roofing so additional water entry doesn’t occur while waiting for repairs. 
  • Mitigate further damage by hiring a licensed and insured professional to replace damaged building components.  
  • If there is interior water damage, hire a restoration service for water removal before mold becomes an issue. 
Trashed apartments in red brick building. No glass in the windows and everything inside is torn apart. Debris hang all over the place.

7) Build back stronger

When you are ready to repair your roof or rebuild, demand for contractors will be high. 

  • Learn more about the FORTIFIED Commercial  & FORTIFIED Multifamily program and the solution that is right for your business. Re-roof or build back stronger using the FORTIFIED construction method to reduce the likelihood of damage next time. 

*Always ask your contractor to provide a copy of their certificate of insurance (COI) prior to work being done on your business. 

7. Build Back Stronger

Annual Business Prep

These annual maintenance activities will help to prepare your business before severe weather strikes and reduce the potential for damage 

Building Upgrades

We can’t stop severe thunderstorms, but we can strengthen building components to better prepare for them. Upgrade now and be Thunderstorm Ready! 

Before Severe Event

If severe weather is forecast for your area, follow these last-minute steps before the thunder rolls and the wind blows to help reduce damage to your business.

After Severe Event

Once you are able to safely return to your building, note damage that must be repaired by a professional and tasks that can easily be completed as ado-it-yourself project.