Check list for cleaning up damage and starting the insurance claim process
Early estimates on the damage from Hurricane Harvey range from $10 billion- $80 Billion. FEMA Director Brock Long has called Hurricane Harvey the worst disaster in Texas history. He has also estimated that it will take years for the Southeast Texas Region to fully recover.
If you or a loved one has been effected by the hurricane or subsequent flooding, what should you do? What are the next steps after the water has receded and everyone is safe?
Here is a list of 10 things to do after the storm has subsided
- Gather supplies to safely clean up: Gloves, face masks and other protective gear. Buckets, mops and squeegees. Plastic garbage bags, cleaning solution, other tools for major repairs or removal.
- Turn in an insurance claim if applicable. Find out what to do before the adjuster’s visit to mitigate the claim and not result in an under payment of claim.
- Make sure the building is structurally safe before entering. Look for buckled walls or floors.
- Watch for holes in the floor, broken glass and other potentially dangerous debris.
- Be aware of uninvited guests such as snakes, alligators or other animals. They may seek refuge in your home.
- Take photos and document damaged items before discarding.
- Dispose of any of the food items if they have been exposed to flood water.
- Discard all insulation materials, particle board furniture, mattresses, box springs, stuffed toys, pillows, padding, cushions and furniture coverings that have been exposed to flood water.
- Be aware that mold can lead to serious health problems. If you are cleaning up in a room where mold is present, wear a face mask and disposable gloves.
- You may need to have your home professionally cleaned.
If FEMA Director Brock Lang is correct, the recovery process will still take a long time.
This is a list of ten things will began the process, but the journey is a long one. This will help start the work of recovery, but there will be more needed than just filing an insurance claim and documenting damaged items.
If you have the ability, we encourage you to donate to the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the Houston Food Bank, or All Hands Volunteers. The effects of the hurricane and flooding are going to be felt for a long time. These organizations are directly helping and saving people or have established the support systems for once the people have been saved.
The outpouring of people and support proves that the Houston area will recover. It will take time.