FEMA offers post-hurricane cleaning tips


As residents impacted by Hurricane Matthew begin cleaning and repairing their homes, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urges homeowners to exercise caution when inspecting and cleaning up buildings damaged by flood waters.

FEMA offers the following tips:

Always wear protective clothing including long-sleeved shirts, long pants, rubber or plastic gloves and waterproof boots or shoes. 

Before entering your home, look outside for damaged power lines, gas lines and other exterior damage. 

Take photos of your damage before you begin clean up and save repair receipts. 

Your home may be contaminated with mold, which raises the health risk for those with asthma, allergies and breathing conditions. Refer to the Centers for Disease Control for more info on mold: www.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/pdf/flyer-get-rid-of-mold.pdf 

Open doors and windows so your house can air out before spending any length of time inside. 

Turn off main electrical power and water systems and don’t use gas appliances until a professional can ensure they are safe. 

Check all ceilings and floors for signs of sagging or other potentially dangerous structural damage. 

Throw out all foods, beverages and medicines exposed to flood waters or mud including canned goods and containers with food or liquid. 

Throw out any items that absorb water and cannot be cleaned or disinfected (mattresses, carpeting, stuffed animals, etc.). 

Beware of snakes, insects, alligators and other animals that may be on your property or in your home. 

Remove all drywall and insulation that has been in contact with flood waters. 

Clean all hard surfaces (flooring, countertops, appliances, sinks, etc.) thoroughly with hot water and soap or detergent.

If you haven’t done so already, report your damage from the hurricane to your insurance company and local emergency manager.