Cleaning up in the wake of recent hurricanes

Cleaning up in the wake of recent hurricanes

Even as Hurricanes Harvey and Irma wound down, another raging tropical storm, Jose, worked its way north through the Atlantic Ocean. Not long after that, Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, and experts predict it will skirt along the East Coast next over the weekend beginning Sept. 22, 2017, according to The Washington Post. Irma hit Florida hard, with vast swaths of the state losing power for days or weeks and numerous municipalities ordering residents to evacuate. 

"Cleaning up after a hurricane is an exhaustive but vital task."

For those whose homes were not destroyed but still sustained damage from Harvey, Irma or Jose, now comes the process of cleaning up messes, repairing broken residential windows, patching up leaks that exacerbated flooding and various other tasks. While this can be physically and mentally exhausting, it can't be avoided. Let's go over some best practices for handling these responsibilities safely and properly:

Survey and quantify the damage – but be careful
The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety recommended exercising caution when you begin looking over how damaged the home has become. Don't try to enter the home if any downed power lines or busted natural gas pipes are nearby. Professional rescue and maintenance workers should handle these matters. Even if it's not that bad, you should still avail yourself of certain safety gear: waterproof boots, work gloves, fire extinguishers, goggles, rubber boots and gloves if dealing with any damaged septic systems, and so on, as noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Next, start making a list of damaged items and areas – ideally with a smartphone, so you can snap photos and take notes. This will be vital to any insurance claims you file. Stay on top of the paperwork (literal or otherwise) so that you don't lose anything to which your homeowners policy would entitle you. 

Managing trees and branches
If the tree damage to your house and yard is a matter of branches and leaves, you can probably handle it yourself. Entire felled trees, on the other hand, will require professional attention. Additionally, the Environmental Protection Agency stipulated that you separate branches and vegetation from the rest of the storm debris you pick up, when leaving it for sanitation workers to collect.

Windows and roofs
Assessing roof damage is a delicate task that those without experience shouldn't undertake, and home window replacement, while easier, shouldn't be DIY unless it's just one or two broken panes you're handling. But even if pros will soon handle these tasks, you must still block any cracks or holes short-term. Use tarps and boards for temporary coverage as needed.

Flood damage recovery
Arguably, the most difficult aspect of post-hurricane cleanup is dealing with the effects of water damage. Beyond the sheer distasteful dampness of it all, you're contending with the possibility of mold. The New York Times recommended using a wet/dry vacuum or carpet cleaner specifically designed to handle waterlogged surfaces, as well as water-removal pumps and wet mops as needed.

After that, run a dehumidifier in the space to help filter the air. Flooded laundry may need special treatment, but there are services dedicated to dealing with storm-soiled linens. Before handing it over, The Times stated that you should rinse and sun-dry them to mitigate mildew buildup. 

To learn more about impact resistant windows to add to your household in the wake of a hurricane – and before the next one – contact NewSouth Window Solutions today. 

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