If your home was flooded during the recent hurricanes, you'll want to start the cleanup as soon as possible. However, it's best to wait until the hazards have completely passed before you jump in and start tackling the mess. The water may have receded, but that doesn't mean that the danger has. In fact, there can still be many hidden dangers in your home that you might not be aware of. Before you start cleaning up after the hurricane damage, here are four safety tips that will help keep you safe:
Wait Until Your Home is Deemed Safe by an Inspector
Even if the water has completely left your home, you should still wait until it's passed a safety inspection by a building inspector before you begin cleanup. Depending on how deep the water was, there could be considerable structural damage to your home, including wall shifting, and foundation collapse. A building inspector will come through and determine whether, or not, your home is safe to enter. Once it is deemed safe, you'll be able to get in and start cleaning.
Get Out If You Smell Gas
During the hurricane, the strong winds could have pushed your home off its foundation, which could have caused damage to the gas pipes that run through the walls. Even if your home has passed inspection, there's still the possibility that the gas pipes will begin leaking during cleanup. If you smell gas while you're cleaning your home, vacate the area immediately, and contact the gas company. Remain out of the house until the gas can be turned off at the main meter.
Be Prepared for Contaminated Water
After a hurricane, the standing water in your home will be contaminated. It might even contain human fecal matter. This is particularly true if there are septic tanks in the vicinity of your home. During the cleanup of your home, you should treat all standing water as if it's contaminated. Before you enter the water, be sure you're wearing gear that will protect you from exposure to harmful bacteria. The most important piece of equipment you can have is a face mask. The mask will prevent you from breathing in harmful fumes. You should also be wearing protective goggles, which will keep contaminated water out of your eyes. Finally, make sure you're wearing heavy-duty gloves to protect your hands, and steel-toed boots to prevent injuries to your feet.
Cleaning up after a hurricane is hard, and dangerous, work. Don't be afraid to get help. Professional water damage cleanup companies are available to help, and have the experience you'll need to get your home restored properly, and safely.
Contact a water damage restoration service for more information and assistance.