You have started your claim. You can safely go back to your home. You know cleanup is urgent. That all seems simple enough, but how can feel daunting
Returning to your flooded home:
Protect Yourself: The water in your home was NOT Rubber or hard-soled shoes, rubber gloves and a mask (N-95 rated dusk mask) are not overly cautious suggestions. They are a must.
Turn Off Power: Turn off all power at the main breaker. Even if your power company has turned the electricity off, it is a safe practice to also turn it off at the fuse or breaker box in your home. Do not touch breakers or attempt to turn off power if your hands are wet or if you must stand in water to do so. Power should not be turned back on until inspected by a qualified electrician.
What Must Go: To prevent further damage and control mold, your home must dry out. With our humidity that may take weeks.Anything porous, that can absorb water, must be removed, including; carpet, padding, sheetrock, paneling, insulation, wallpaper, mattresses, pillows, upholstered furniture, etc. Regarding walls, you should remove at least 12” above from the water line. The exposed wall studs must also be cleaned and dried out.
Appliances: Anything covered in water should be replaced. However, if there were only a few inches of water some appliances may be in good shape. The link below explains how to assess electrical items.
How To Clean: Non-porous materials and hard surfaces can remain, but must be cleaned. First wash with soap and water. Then clean with a bleach and water solution (2 cups bleach/gallon of water).
Recovery managers provide this diagram to assist survivors in their cleanup effort. Published with permission of the Tuscaloosa News.
How to Throw Out Your Trash: Yes, there is supposed to be a method to this madness. Organization of items helps speed up the pick-up process, protects your property, and prevents the removal of items you are trying to salvage. The illustration from FEMA is very straightforward.
For additional information visit:
Link regarding appliances: