Hurricanes: After the Storm - Returning Home
Material provided by Federal Alliance for Safe Homes http://www.flash.org/
Hurricanes bring wind and water, often in the shape of floodwaters that overtake homes and damage property. It's critical to remove, dry or replace wet building materials immediately.
Below is a simple checklist to help you get started on assessing damage in your home after the flood and begin taking charge of the cleanup.
- Check for building stability before entry - sticking doors at the top may indicate a ceiling at risk of collapse.
- Take pictures of damage throughout the building and around the property. Assess stability of plaster and drywall - any bulging or swelling ceilings indicate damage that should be removed. Press upward on drywall ceilings. If nail heads appear, drywall will need to be re-nailed but can be saved.
- Clean and disinfect hot air, air conditioning and ventilation ducts before use to avoid spread of airborne germs and mold spores.
- Check appliance wires for missing or disintegrated wire insulation.
- Ground all appliances with a three-pronged plugs.
- Dry and oil all appliance motors.
- Two weeks after flood water subsides, drain wells, sanitize well and water lines and test water.
- Check foundation for any loose or missing blocks, bricks, stones or mortar.
- Empty basement water 1/3 per day to avoid structural damage to foundation by rapid pressure change.
- Remove wet drywall and insulation well above the high water mark.
- Clean, disinfect, and dry all wall cavities that came into contact with floodwater.
- Use fans and sunlight to dry out interior spaces.
- Remove all wet carpets, curtains, and fabrics. Allow to air dry completely.
- Wash and disinfect all surfaces, including cupboard interiors, with a solution of 1/2 cup bleach to 2 gallons of water.
- Clean and disinfect concrete surfaces using a mixture of TSP (trisodium phosphate) and water. Mix according to manufacturer's directions and apply to entire surface.
- Control standing water and mosquitoes by applying a larvae control product to standing water or a film of vegetable oil to the surface.
- Wash down and disinfect all doors.
- To avoid warping, dry all wood doors by removing from hinges, laying flat with wood shims between, and allowing to air dry completely.
- Remove all knobs and hardware first and disinfect.
- Clean and disinfect windows, sills and tracks.
- Remove sliding doors and windows before cleaning and disinfecting the sliders and the tracks.
- Remove wallpaper and coverings that came into contact with floodwaters.
- Don't repaint or repair until drying is complete and humidity levels in the home have dropped.