Proper Cleanup Following Hurricane Katrina Can Minimize Water Damage

August 26, 2005

If Hurricane Katrina caused leaks or flooding around one’s home or business, the Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) says proper cleanup will help minimize the potential damage water can cause.

As soon as it’s safe to enter damaged areas:

* Make sure the building is structurally safe to enter or reoccupy.
* Turn off electrical power. Do not use electricity until it is safe to do so.
* Ensure that natural gas sources are safely secured.
* Secure the exterior to prevent further water intrusion. This can
include boarding up broken windows, making temporary roof repairs,
sealing cracks or tacking down plastic sheeting against open gaps in
walls or roofs.

When it’s safe to begin cleanup:

* Disconnect all electronics/electrical equipment and move it to a safe,
dry location.
* Remove as much standing water as possible from inside the building.
* Begin to remove water-damaged materials immediately and take photos or save samples of discarded items, such as carpets, for insurance purposes.
* Ventilate the home as best you can with fans and/or dehumidifiers.
* Contact a water extraction company, if necessary, for assistance.

By taking immediate action, homeowners will limit the damage and increase the chance of salvaging usable materials. They will also reduce the amount of rust, rot, mold and mildew that may develop, and lower the likelihood that the water will lead to structural problems.

More information can be found on the IBHS Web site Visit the Water & Mold section to view the “Water Damage Recovery Guide,” which has detailed cleanup instructions.

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