What Do I Do if a Tree Falls on My Property?

Tree On House
Devastation in Tuscaloosa by USACE

A homeowner’s nightmare: rain, thunder, roaring winds, and all of the sudden you hear a loud falling sound and see that one of your trees has fallen onto your house.

Below are some specific steps you should take:

Make sure everyone is safe and accounted for
This seems like a no-brainer, but in an emergency situation, especially if kids can be involved, make sure you know where everyone is.

Keep everyone in a safe place
Fallen trees can cut power lines or cause gas leaks. If you see a downed power line, make sure everyone avoids it. Downed lines can electrocute and kill. DO NOT try to grab it and keep your kids away from it. There have been cases of people taking videos with their phones when a wire hit a puddle and the current reached them. If you smell gas, that can be trouble too. If you can, turn off all electricity and get away from the house, as far away from cut lines as possible and move toward a place where you can have shelter.

Call the police
Dial 9-1-1 in the US and Canada, 1-1-2 in the UK. The police can walk you through all necessary steps and can send the right personnel to help with any wires, fires, gas leaks, or other problems. They can also guide you with what to do regarding first aid if anyone is injured to most help that person before ambulances arrive.

Call your insurance
The insurance will help with any clean-up and can provide you with who to call to get your roof, fence, and other property repaired. They will also help you in dealing with damage to neighbors or from neighbors. Take plenty of photos once it is safe.

Prevention
If you have trees that tend to overgrow, keep them trimmed and get records from the tree-trimming company. If you’re in an area where high winds can occur, contact local home inspectors for further advice–it can save you a lot of time, money, injuries, and could possibly save lives.