After a Flood: General Tips
Don't return to your flood-damaged home before the area is declared to be safe by local officials. Returning home can be both physically and mentally challenging. Above all, use caution.
Check for injuries. Do not attempt to move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of death or further injury. If you must move an unconscious person, first stabilize the neck and back, then call for help immediately.
Before You Enter Your Home
Walk carefully around the outside and check for loose power lines, gas leaks, and structural damage. If you have any doubts about safety, have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before entering.
Do not enter if:
Going Inside Your Home
When you go inside your home, there are certain things you should and should not do. Enter the home carefully and check for damage. Be aware of loose boards and slippery floors. The following items are other things to check inside your home:
Tips from Ill. Atty. General Lisa Madigan on avoiding repair scams
Attorney General Lisa Madigan today urged residents of communities impacted by flooding to protect themselves from home repair con artists eager to exploit natural disasters for personal profit.Madigan offered the following tips to protect individuals and companies from being duped by dishonest contractors:
- Call the Attorney General's Consumer Fraud Hotline to check out a contractor and to find out how many consumer complaints, if any, have been filed against a particular business.
- Be wary of contractors who go door-to-door to offer repair services. Home repair con artists are often transients who move quickly into a troubled area. Ask for recommendations from people you know and trust and, whenever possible, use established local contractors.
- Even if there is a need to act quickly, shop around for the best deal. Get written estimates from several contractors and don't be rushed into a deal.
- Get all of the terms of a contract in writing and obtain a copy of the signed contract. Never make full payment until all the work has been completed to your satisfaction. Do not pay in cash.
- Be aware that you have the right to cancel within three business days if you sign a contract with a salesman who comes to your home.
- Ask to see any required state or local permits or licenses. Remember that insurance adjusters must be licensed by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, Division of Insurance, and roofers must be licensed by the Division of Professional Regulation.
The Illinois Home Repair and Remodeling Act requires contractors to furnish customers with written contracts for any repair or remodeling work costing more than $1,000. A contract must be signed by both the customer and the contractor.
The law also requires contractors to carry at least minimum amounts of insurance for property damage, bodily injury and improper home repair. Contractors also must provide consumers with an informational pamphlet entitled "Home Repair: Know Your Consumer Rights."
For additional information on how to avoid consumer scams, visit www.IllinoisAttorneyGeneral.gov.
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