Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is urging residents to protect themselves and their property in the aftermath of a storm.

After the recent heavy rains and severe storms swept across Arkansas, which caused a section of Interstate 30 to be temporarily shut down and storm damage throughout the state, Arkansans were left picking up the pieces and preparing for storm season, according to a news release.

“Severe storms and flood waters can cause terrible damage to property,” Rutledge said. “Arkansans need to know the steps to take if their property has been impacted by the recent severe weather. We also need to know how to protect our pocketbook from those who want to take advantage of us during this difficult time.”

Rutledge released the following tips for consumers who are cleaning up water damage on their property:

• Call the insurance agent. “If insurance covers the damage, the agent should have an adjuster contact you,” according to the release.

• Make a list of the damage and take photographs or video while cleaning. This documentation will be needed for insurance claims, applications for disaster assistance, and income tax deductions.

• Clear away any mud, and clean and disinfect every surface.

• Check with the Attorney General’s office and the Better Business Bureau before hiring anyone to clean up or make repairs.

• Get multiple estimates and compare prices.

• Turn off all electrical and heating and cooling systems to be inspected and repaired or cleaned by a qualified or licensed contractor.

• Appliances and electronics should be professionally cleaned and serviced to prevent electrocution.

• Never pay in advance for any repair service, and inspect the completed project before making the final payment.

• Communicate with the insurance company directly rather than authorizing a contractor to negotiate with the company.

For details and tips to avoid scams and other consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at or visit, or 800-482-8982.