Hurricane Irma, once a Category 5 monster with record-breaking 185-mph winds, weakened to a tropical storm as it plowed through parts of the Southeast after leaving Florida on Monday.
The storm killed more than 40 people in the Caribbean and Florida, and at least three people were killed in Georgia, two crushed by falling trees.
Millions of people were left in the dark, as the storm toppled trees and power lines across parts of the Southeast.
Stark reminder of the danger of the storm. If home is surrounded by trees, find lower level/safe room providing protection should tree fall. pic.twitter.com/nsSQd7Wojm— Sandy Springs, GA (@SandySpringsGA) September 11, 2017
If you’re experiencing tree damage following the tropical storm, here are expert tips on tree safety, removal and more:
Signs of tree danger
- Dead branches or branches barely hanging by a thread
- Insect infestations
- Hollowing inside the tree
- Leaking sap
- Cracks in the lower trunk or large stems split from the tree
- Severed or broken roots
- Noticeable tree lean after a storm
What to do if a tree falls on your property and who to call for help
Do not attempt to self-clean.
According to Ryan Smith of Monster Tree Service, this is one of the most dangerous mistakes people make after a tree causes damage on their property.
“So many people get hurt after a storm because they get on the roof to try and fix the damage themselves and slip and fall,” he said. “Our experts won’t even do that without the proper equipment.”
Stay away from the damaged areas.
If you walk on compromised areas, such as near downed power lines, the repercussions could be quite dangerous, Smith said.
Immediately call a tree removal service, but avoid getting scammed.
You want to find a tree removal company that not only carries insurance, but specifically includes workers’ compensation.
This is because the biggest risk during tree removal is someone getting damaged on property, Smith said.
When calling the company, ask for certificates and proof of liability insurance and workers’ compensation.
Remember to look out for any unsolicited offers and too-good-to-be-true bargains. It’s always best to double check references and read reviews.
Be sure to sign a written agreement before the work, and unless it’s just a small deposit, there’s no reason to pay up front.
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