Cleaning your home after a disaster

Published: Jul. 1, 2019 at 5:45 PM CDT
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Once you know you and your family are safe in the wake of a disaster, there are ways to make sure your home is safe as well.

See the suggestions below from Adam Shepherd at PuroClean, and see the video player above for the full conversation.

What to do after flooding:

- Ensure your safety when checking for damage.

- Avoid direct contact with floodwater, which may contain dangerous contaminants. If you must walk through floodwater, wear protective clothing, such as disposable overalls, eyewear, gloves, and a face mask.

- Be aware of electrical wires that are under the water level and turn off your home’s power at the main breaker switches.

- If the flooding is due to a burst water pipe in your home, shut off the main water supply valve.

- Throw away all medicines, cosmetics, and foods (even canned goods) that have been submerged in floodwater.

- Take photos of the damage and show them to your insurance agent as soon as possible.

What to do after a fire:

- Ensure your safety if you enter your home after the fire. Ask the restoration specialists, fire department, insurance agent or local building officials if the building is safe to enter.

- Do not touch fire-damaged items as soot and contaminated water (that was used to extinguish the fire) may pose health risks.

- If the utility services were turned off by the fire department for safety reasons, don’t turn them back on until you are advised to do so.

- Contact your insurance agent to discuss what can be done to restore your property and the amount of your insurance deductible.

- Ask for help at local disaster relief services, such as public health departments or assigned shelters. They can provide a safe place to stay, food, clothes, and other essential items.

- When you decide to start the recovery process, don’t do it alone – ask family members or friends for support.

- Care for your pets as they may behave irrationally during and after a disaster. Their instincts may cause them to bite or scratch, so be careful and gentle when handling them. Do not let pets get near fire-damaged contents and provide a safe shelter for them.

- If you must leave your house, let the local police department know your property is unoccupied. They can protect your property against burglaries. Also, make sure you board up openings or make a temporary fence to protect your home.

What to do after a tornado:

- Make sure the storm has passed and go to a safe place. Don’t return home until local authorities say it’s safe.

- Keep listening for updated information on the disaster. Let your loved ones know you’re safe and check your family’s safety. Help those who are injured.

- If you are trapped, avoid breathing in dust by covering your mouth with a cloth or mask. Don’t shout – send a text, bang on a pipe or wall, or use a whistle instead.

- Stay away from downed wires, damaged buildings, and dangerous debris like broken glass or sharp objects.

- Don’t use matches, lighters and candles – there may be natural gas leaks nearby. Use battery-operated flashlights.

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