Canada's Condominium Magazine

Tips for cleaning up after severe storm damage

Hurricane Sandy gave Toronto a rough and stormy night, but nothing like what residents along the Eastern Seaboard had to deal with.

Now that Hurricane Sandy has come and gone, a lot of people will have to deal with serious damages to their property. While Toronto was spared the severest weather that hit places like New Jersey and New York City, we heard of downed trees and power lines here, and sadly a woman was killed.

An organization called the Restoration Industry Association in the US put out a checklist for those who suffered damage in the storm. It seems a useful kind of list to have, whether you live in a hurricane-prone area or not. Flooding is the big problem of course, and that can happen any time. The tips they offer range from dealing with insurance companies concerning coverage for damaged property to practical matters like moving computers and delicate electronic equipment to dry ground.

Here is the list

 

  • Notify your insurance company of the loss.
  • Keep track of dates and times of conversations with individuals pertaining to your claim.
  • Save all receipts for meals, hotels, toiletries, replacement clothing, prescriptions, etc incurred as a result of the being displaced.
  • Take photos of each room for future reference and insurance claims. This will provide a digital inventory of some visible contents.
  • If electrical appliances, including televisions and computers are damaged by water, do not turn them back on when power is restored. This can result in electric shock and/or do further damage to the appliance. Electronics can often be cleaned & restored by contractors who know what they’re doing.
  • Drywall, insulation and carpeting/padding impacted by muddy water will probably need to be removed and replaced.
  • Beware of scammers offering restoration services. Check references and visit the Restoration Industry Association website — www.restorationindustry.org — to find a contractor.
  • Wear heavy rubber gloves or work gloves and thick-soled shoes, preferably not tennis shoes.
  • Wash your hands frequently, especially before touching your face or eating.
  • Be careful of muddy water:  there can be sharp items such as broken glass, nails, etc.
  • Avoid cross contamination:don’t wear dirty clothes or shoes to the clean part of the house.
  • Drink lots of water to stay hydrated.
  • Don’t use bleach to disinfect. Bleach is corrosive and can react with other substances. Use regular household disinfectants.
  • Open windows to ventilate. Open drawers and cabinets for interior drying, but don’t force them open.
  • Remove standing water from flat surfaces by sponging and blotting.
  • Hard surfaces can be disinfected as well as some soft goods, depending on washability.
  • Transport computers and musical instruments to a dry environment.
  • Remove lamps and other items from wet furniture tops.
  • Dry out as much as you can to prevent further damage.

 

The Restoration Industry Association (RIA) has member firms worldwide. RIA provides leadership and promotes best practices through advocacy, standards and professional qualifications for the restoration industry. More information is available on the RIA website: www.restorationindustry.org

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