Hurricanes are more common than you might think. The 2019 North Atlantic hurricane season brought us 18 tropical storms, six hurricanes, and three major hurricanes.
For many areas of the US, living in hurricane areas is a part of life. But when a hurricane does strike, they can do unbelievable amounts of damage.
After the storm has passed, you’ll need to think about hurricane cleanup. How can you get your home repaired and cleaned, while still staying safe in a dangerous environment?
To find out, keep reading to find seven hurricane cleanup tips that will help you manage the process safely and effectively.
- Never Enter Homes or Buildings Until They’ve Been Deemed Safe
When it comes to hurricane disaster cleanup, safety should always be your first priority. You’re no doubt eager to get back into your home as soon as possible after the storm, but this isn’t a good idea.
Never enter a home, building, or enclosed space like a garage until the area has been deemed safe by the authorities. If you try to get back in too soon, while evacuation orders are still in place, you’re putting your safety at risk.
Or, there could still be rising waters or chemical spills that put the property at risk. If so, you’ll want to bring in a chemical cleanup company before entering the property—learn more here.
- Ensure You Have Appropriate Safety Gear
In addition to your hurricane cleanup supplies, you’ll also want to have the right safety gear. At a minimum, workers will need steel-toe boots, sturdy work gloves, safety glasses, and hard hats.
If you’ll be using loud equipment, such as chainsaws, earplugs are a good idea as well, or noise-canceling headphones.
Depending on the situation, you may also need respirators and chemical safety suits.
- Accept That Some Items Can’t Be Salvaged
Hurricane cleanup can be a very emotional time, so don’t rush—take the time to process your thoughts and manage your feelings about what’s happened.
After a hurricane, you may come back to find your family home or property completely destroyed by the storm. The roof can be torn off a house, serious flooding, or loss of livestock—it’s a lot to handle.
Before entering the home, understand that, sadly, not all items in the home are able to be salvaged. Belongings that are water-damaged, such as carpets or furniture, are often destroyed by water.
They can’t be saved, as waterlogged items put you at risk of mold or dangerous bacteria. Hopefully, your insurance company will cover replacement homewares.
For family heirlooms, try to dry out what you can, but accept that some things will need to be let go.
- Stay Hydrated
Hurricanes often occur in hot, humid climates, making cleaning a tough process. If you and your team are spending long hours working outside, you need to stay hydrated.
The local water supply may be unsafe to drink or temporarily turned off, so be prepared to bring in bottled water or large tanks.
Encourage workers to take breaks, stay hydrated, and spend time in the shade. If you can, you may want to schedule the work in the early morning or late afternoon, avoiding the heat of the day.
Dehydration can cause serious health problems, so drink up and try to eat healthy, nutritious meals, so that you have the strength to power through the cleaning.
- Make Sure Electricity Is Turned Off
One of our top hurricane cleanup tips is to always make sure electricity is turned off before entering a property.
Storms can cause live wires to become exposed, damaged electrical outlets, or downed power lines. This can put you at risk for electric shock or injury, so call the power company to make sure it’s safe to enter.
- Watch Out for Wildlife and Animals
Storms can stir up all sorts of animal activity, as their homes and habitats may have been destroyed in the hurricane.
When cleaning up, keep an eye out for animals that may have gotten into the home or property. Watch out for snakes, raccoons, alligators, or pets and livestock that may be lost.
Animals can carry disease, so it’s a good idea to contact the local wildlife control number if wildlife are in or near your home.
- Take Extra Care Around Standing Water
Hurricane surges and floodwaters mean there may be standing water in your home when you come to clean. Take extreme care around water and don’t enter it unless you can see the ground underneath.
It can be hard to see the current in moving water as well, so even if you think it’s safe to walk through, you could be swept away.
Standing water also attracts mosquitoes, which carry dangerous blood-borne diseases. To avoid bites, lightweight, long-sleeved clothing will help prevent contact with the skin from insects.
Protect Yourself With These Hurricane Cleanup Tips
Hurricanes can be devastating, wreaking havoc on southern and southeastern communities in the US. After the storm has passed, use these hurricane cleanup tips to start the process safely.
Before starting the clean, it’s helpful to take plenty of photos and videos for your insurance company, as evidence of storm damage will be required when you file your claim.
It may take weeks or months to clean the property, repair damage, or even rebuild, but you’ll get there. Although you’ll never forget the experience of a hurricane, you can recover and move on with your life.
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