Irene’s Not-So-Gentle Reminder

As Hurricane Irene pushes closer to the United States, residents along the East Coast are stocking up on supplies as they prepare for power outages that can accompany damaging winds. Of course, it’s been awhile since we’ve seen any tropical action affecting the mainland U.S. Nearly three years have passed since Hurricane Ike made landfall in Texas as a strong category 2 hurricane—with a storm surge more than 12 feet. It was part of an active 2008 Atlantic hurricane season. The season included the formation of Tropical Storm Cristobal off the Florida coast, but that storm paled in comparison to Ike and left Florida largely unaffected.

The large gap in time between these types of storms is a blessing and a burden. A quiet hurricane season can mean no casualty and minimal property damage. On the flip side, the passage of time also leads us to forget what always accompanies damaging storms: the people looking to make a quick buck by promising fast repairs and not delivering on that promise. These so-called “storm chasers” pop up everywhere, and some may even travel from state to state following a disaster.

While a homeowner’s eagerness to save a few bucks may prompt him or her to hire one of these less-than-desirable contractors, it’s important to remember that you never need to make a decision on-the-spot when someone knocks on your door and offers to provide a service. Like any licensed, reputable contractor, we will always advise you to do your research first before contracting the services of anyone. Ask for testimonials. Check with the Better Business Bureau. Check out company information online, if available.

As we watch the track of Hurricane Irene, we’re breathing a sigh of relief that it’s bypassing Florida. At the same time, we realize that there is the potential for damage to homes and properties along the East Coast. This is an ideal time to advise your friends and family in the potential affected areas to be cautious regarding any type of contractor who approaches them with pre-hurricane services or quickly appears following storm damage.