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Natatia Bledsoe is the public information officer for the Fredericksburg Police Department.

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Tree through your roof? Follow these steps to safety

The Bledsoe garage took a direct hit during the derecho in June 2012

 

With sustained high winds of 30-40 mph headed our way and wind gusts of up to 60 mph expected overnight, falling trees are a big concern and likely to keep emergency responders very busy. 

If a tree falls on your house, do you have a plan? 

1.  Evacuate the occupants out of the house and make sure you can account for all of them.   This is an example of why it’s a good idea to have a family safety plan already in place with a pre-determined location where household members will meet in case of an emergency.  If a pet will not come to you when you call, do not go through the house searching for a missing cat or dog.

2.  Call 911 from your cell phone or go to a neighbor’s house to call from there.   Be prepared to tell the 911 dispatcher as much as you can about the status of your family members, the extent of the damage to your house, and whether or not any power lines are down.   The Fire Department will respond as soon as possible. 

3.  Do not re-enter the house until the Fire Department determines that it is safe for you to do so.  The Fire Department will secure the utilities and depending on the damage, a building inspector may be called to the scene to do a structural assessment.  

4.  Contact your insurance company.  While emergency crews will do everything that is necessary to rescue the occupants of a home, protect the home from fire, and to make sure that public access is not blocked by downed trees or limbs, fallen trees on private property are the responsibility of the homeowner. 

For downed trees anywhere, be very careful in case there are power lines entangled in the tree limbs.  All electrical lines should be considered HOT until they are removed by line personnel.   

Call 911 for downed power lines, or report the downed tree to the City’s emergency dispatch center by calling 540-654-5730.  

For fallen trees on a public roadway or sidewalk, the Fire Department will respond to clear the road and secure any immediate hazards.   The City’s Public Works tree crews will handle the complete removal of a tree from public property in the days following the storm.

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