Returning home to assess and clean up the damage from a hurricane can be quite daunting. You could be facing water and wind damage, standing flood water through the house, mold, grime and even power outages while you try to deal with everything else. It’s not easy, but a clean-up is possible with the right planning. We’ve got some tips for you for cleaning up your home after a hurricane below.
Wait Until it is Safe
You should only go back to your home if the authorities have given you the OK to do so. Waiting until the flood waters have receded properly and the roadways are cleared of any degree and damage after the hurricane is important. It doesn’t matter what the strength of the hurricane was, if your home and your street have been affected you need to make sure that it’s safe to go back without risking your personal health and safety.
Pack a Safety Backpack
Before heading back home after a hurricane, you should prepare a backpack with essential safety items. Safety gear is important if your home doesn’t have electricity when you return. This means that you need flashlights, battery powered lanterns and a charged up phone so that you can call for help. If cellular communications in the area are down, then at least inform a friend or family member before you go if a satellite phone is not an option. Don’t forget that hurricane flood waters entering the house can make your home less stable than before. It could also bring with it bacteria and other contaminants that you may not be aware of. To protect yourself against this, bring gloves, and N95 masks. Even dishwashing gloves can help.
Check for Structural Damage
If you have flood water in the home of considerable height you should try not to enter. The actual foundations of your house could be damaged beyond repair, and you need to know this before you go in. Checking for down power lines, gas line leaks, tree limbs that may have fallen, and others major structural damage first is important.
Make Sure to Document Everything
Taking photos, videos, and ensuring that your house is fully documented is important for your insurance. You shouldn’t throw anything out without photographing it first, so before you go through each room and remove any debris and clutter, snap a picture. You want to make sure that your insurance company has a complete picture of the damage so that you can get money back.
Clean it Before You Salvage It
You may be able to salvage some of your furniture after flood damage, but you should do that as fast as you can. Soaked clothes should be washed quickly to avoid losing them to mold or mildew stains. There are companies out there that can also dry out documents for you so that you don’t have to worry about your paperwork for your pictures being damaged irreparably.