NEW YORK (CBS NEWS) – Courage, as rescue workers and ordinary citizens alike risk their lives to save children, the elderly and pets from the ravages of Tropical Storm Harvey. But when it comes to saving your home, CEO Sheldon Yellen of Belfor Property Restoration has a different message: Don’t be a hero.
“Don’t sit in your house to try and save it,” he said. “Get to a shelter.”READ MORE: Canelo Alvarez, Billy Joe Saunders Fight At AT&T Stadium Breaks US Boxing Record For Largest Indoor Crowd
And if you have a family, it might make sense to get out of town. “Put the kids up with relatives,” Yellen said. “Or stay at a hotel until it’s safe.” Federal and state emergency funds help to make this an alternative in many instances. Once you’re in a safe place, consider your options before taking any action to protect your house.READ MORE: Pedestrian Killed In Hit-And-Run On Freeway In Fort Worth
Yellen, who’s been in the restoration business for 33 years, is sending trucks, equipment and more than 900 trained personnel to the Houston area to help shore up and repair schools, hospitals, major retail centers and even a refinery. But he doesn’t recommend that people who aren’t providing assistance to others should stay in their home — not while dams are bursting, sewage is contaminating the water and electric lines risk sparking fires.MORE NEWS: North Texans Dealing With Another Shortage Due To Pandemic: Boats
Instead, anyone whose home or business has sustained damage should focus on long-term planning: talking to your insurer, obtaining a loan from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and looking for a licensed professional contractor who will help you rebuild.