Safety, the first consideration is safety before returning to your property check with the local authorities, and make sure it's safe to go home. Ask, do you need any identification to return to your property. Ask about utilities such as drinking water, electricity and sewage removal.
Your local police and town hall will have this information. If the National Guard has been sent to your town, they may also be able to assist with information. In addition it will be very helpful to know the status of mail delivery and the condition and accessibility of roads and bridges. Are any of the bridges out or are any of the roads impassible. Are any areas of town off limits to residents? Start property mitigation by cleaning up and documenting your possessions and property. As the water recedes photograph your belongings.
Throw away all food and toiletries. Take notes and create a detailed list of damaged items. Remove and toss out any material that absorbed the flood water. Such as: furniture, bedding, toys, footwear, makeup (some clothes and hardwood furniture you will be able to clean & wash) the key here is to document the items that you are tossing out; for insurance purposes. Carpet and floor covering should be removed and discarded as it will harbor bacteria and not respond well to cleaning. The first few feet of the drywall will need to be removed and tossed out if it got wet or the flooring got wet.
Leave the studs to be dried out. Electrical, Mechanical and plumbing systems will need to be inspected by an authorized contractor to asses the damage from water. Some systems will be O.K. after cleaning and drying.
Rust, mold and contamination may adversely affect systems like telephone wires and electric outlets. In the garage there will be cleaning, lawn care and automotive items that will need to be tossed out. Remember to add them to your list a damaged property. Look for rotted cardboard boxes, rusted metal cans and ruined paints.
Contaminated cleaning and polishing products along with oils and fertilizer will need to go. Tools and gardening items will need to be looked at item by item. Contact a dumpster service and rent a large container to fill up with your refuge. Remember the important thing is safety. There is a lot of psychological pressure at a time like this. So don't be too hard on your family and friends.
And most of all take care of yourself; you won't be any good to anyone if you don't. In future articles, we will show you how to dryout your home and begin temporary repairs.
Mr. Mark Decherd Dryout Inc. www.dryout.net