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Salvaging Belongings After a Hurricane Has Destroyed Your Home

Posted on March 14, 2018 at 3:45 PM

A hurricane can be a very devastating experience for those involved. The moments after the hurricane can be very confusing and hectic. When one is faced with water intrusion in your home for any reason, and especially from hurricane, most people do not know if their belongings can be saved and fear that they may have lost their lifelong treasures.

The first call you should make should be to your insurance company, they will be able to guide you through your personal options based on coverage and circustance.

Fortunately, there are restoration companies that cater to salvaging belongings after a hurricane. Whether you acquire this service through your insurance ocmpany or hire them directly, these companies can help walk you through the process,  but it is best that you understand some basic instructions for yourself to make the process much smoother. 

Examine the Condition of Your Belongings

Firstly, you should find out what kind of water touched your belongings. The kind of water that touched your belongings will determine if they are worth salvaging. There are instances where your items may have been submerged in contaminated water, which will mean that you should not salvage those items. Although these types of items may appear to be salvageable, they may have become home to a variety of harmful organisms and toxins.  If you have any doubt, it is highly recomened your err on the side of caution and/or consult a professional.

Next, you should examine your belongings for damage and discoloration. Items that are badly damaged may not be worth salvaging and may even sustain more damage during the restoration process. For example, a torn pillow may completely shred during chemical treatment.

Saving Items

Chances are, you may not be able to clean your belongings right away. After losing your home, you may be staying with a relative or in rented housing, but it’s unlikely that you’ll want a pile of wet, dirty things (even if they’re yours) in your living space. Storing them temporarily in a storage unit can help keep them safe until you’re ready to start cleaning, and then until you have a place of your own again. Depending on how much you have been able to salvage, you are likely to need a unit between 100 and 200 sq ft, an investment about about $100-$200/month (Aurora Self Storage). 

You should make every attempt to dry out your belongings before moving them to a storage unit.  Keep in mind that it is crucial to be delicate with wet items, as they can disintegrate very easily. Hang, or lay out, all of the items that need to be dried; it will be best to dry them using air rather than heat or other traumatic methods.

If you are not able to dry out your belogins prior to storage be sure to use a climate controlled unit so that you can avoid adding a moldy situation.

Once dry, it’s time to start cleaning. You will need a small toothbrush, mildly hot water, laundry detergent, and a damp cloth; again, be delicate when cleaning your items. You may also wish to use a disinfectant such as bleach solution.

Finally, leave your items to dry again. If there are items that you personally cannot, or couldn't, clean, contact a restoration company to take care of the job for you. These companies specialize in fixing badly damaged items, and they have the proper tools for the job.

At the end of the day...

It is best to take a calm approach to restoring your items. After going through such a devastating experience, it is easy to want to rush everything to get back on your feet and return to normal. But a little bit of patience and care will take you a long way on your road back to recovery.

Categories: Hurricane Preparedness, Mold & Moisture, Home Maintenance

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