After a flood, your first concern should be the safety of you and your family above all possessions that went through some sort of flood damage. Follow these directions to ensure that all items are carefully evaluated, cleaned, or discarded according to safe practices. |
You certainly don't want to throw out something valuable only to discover later that it may have been saved. Here are a few pointers on what may or may not be able to withstand water and flood damage. Keep in mind that this applies only to clean water situations; anything contaminated by sewage or chemicals should be thrown out.
Some of these items may be successfully salvaged, while others may have to be discarded and replaced. The question is, which is which?
Your first step should include discarding of flood-damaged items that cannot be salvaged. Usually these items are things that are not able to be restored to a usable condition, or items that have become unsafe for use.
Immediately discard any fruits, vegetables, meat, or eggs that have come in any kind of contact with contaminated flood water. Flood water contains waste and germs, and consuming the contaminated water can cause severe sickness for you and your family.
You will also need to discard any items in soft packaging, such as cardboard or paper. Glass bottles, such as beer bottles, also need to be thrown away; as well as any other bottles with twist-on caps. With these items, it is very possible for flood water to seep in.
Throw away any canned goods that have obvious flood damage to the outside of the can. This includes dents or leaks. If the can is in decent condition, you can remove the paper label, rinse the can, and then sanitize the outside with a sanitizing product. Do not attempt to salvage the food products if they have been completely submerged in flood water, even if there is no obvious damage to the packaging.
Remove ceiling tiles and wallpaper if they show signs of flood damage. You will also want to immediately clean the floors and if they cannot be thoroughly cleaned, replace them. In severe situations, you may need to replace the drywall in your home, since this is another part of the house that is likely to harbor mold.
Dispose of children's toys that cannot be completely sanitized. You do not want children coming in contact with articles that underwent flood damage. You may also want to get rid of clothing that cannot be quickly washed in hot soapy water.
Get rid of any items that have rust forming. If any items have not been thoroughly air dried within two days, they should also be discarded. This is the time when mold and mildew start to form. You may also want to get rid of any furniture with upholstery if you are not able to get it professionally cleaned right away.
If you are unable to restore or salvage any items, throw them away. It is best to choose to discard items if you are on the fence about what to do with them. You do not want to risk putting yourself or loved ones in danger. Flood damage can cause one to lose many valuable belongings and documents, so be sure to follow steps to prevent your items from becoming damaged by flood and contaminated water. In some cases, this tragedy is not preventable - so follow safe clean-up and discarding practices.
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