First things, first: Remove or cover with plastic any items that could be exposed to water damage. If a bucket or two will collect the water, great, if not, get professional help. There are many roofing companies that offer “emergency leak repair”, but this can often be a treacherous path to go down. Start by getting the leak temporarily or permanently repaired. A tarp will stop the leak in its path while allowing you time to sort things out. Don’t be rushed into a poor decision by someone that does not have your best interest at heart. Do things one step at a time so your not committed to a high dollar repair contract.
Once the leak is under control, start by drying things out. It is important to get wet carpet and the padding pulled up to air dry. Also, anything else like furniture and wood products need to be thoroughly dried. Avoiding mold from growing in these newly moist conditions is imperative to your health and well being. Your biggest challenge is not stains, but preventing your newly wet materials from becoming a breeding ground for mold.
If your up to the task, determine what section of the roof is leaking and try to determine if a tarp would be the best way to go or a permanent fix. It there is a large hole in your roof from an errant tree limb, you probably should start with a tarp. If the wind has knocked a vent cap loose and you can reinstall it yourself, go for it. But remember at the end of the day, be careful. Working on a roof is dangerous work and should be left to the pros when in doubt. A leaky roof is one thing, a broken back is completely another.
Well, at this point we will assume the leak is repaired, whether you did it yourself or hired a pro. Now lets take a look into the future and see if some preventative maintenance could help you avoid a leak in the future. Do a basic survey of your outdoor surroundings, looking for low tree branches hanging over your roof, missing roof tiles and other roof loose or missing flashings. If your not sure about your roofs weather tightness, pay a few dollars and get a professional inspection done. You know the old saying…. penny wise, pound foolish.