Hurricane Sandy Clean Up Tips - Senior Alert Medical

Hurricane Sandy Clean Up Tips

by Medical Care Alert · 0 comments

Even if Hurricane Sandy didn’t hit you directly, you still may have some clean up to do.

In Michigan, where we are based, we got hit with heavy rains and winds and sleet from the Hurricane Sandy storm.  Ohio and West Virginia are getting blasted with show.

Even if you haven’t been effected by a hurricane or natural disaster, these tips are helpful to know in advance.

Flood Cleanup

There is no limit as to what can be expected upon returning to a home after a flood. The furniture could be ruined or strewn about the house. The windows could be busted. The home may be uninhabitable just because of the mold and mildew left behind by flood waters.

During a flood cleanup, the indoor air quality in your home or office may appear to be the least of your problems. However, failure to remove contaminated materials and to reduce moisture and humidity can present serious long-term health risks. Standing water and wet materials are a breeding ground for microorganisms, such as viruses, bacteria, and mold. They can cause disease, trigger allergic reactions, and continue to damage materials long after the flood.

Reentering Buildings

Stay away from damaged buildings or structures until they have been examined and certified as safe by a building inspector or other government authority. You may want to wait to return to buildings during daylight hours, when it is easier to avoid hazards, particularly if the electricity is off and you have no lights.

Leave immediately if you hear shifting or unusual noises that signal that the structure may fall or if you smell gas or suspect a leak. If you smell gas, notify emergency authorities and do not turn on the lights, light matches, smoke, or do anything that could cause a spark. Do not return to the house until you are told it is safe to do so.

Keep children and pets out of the affected area until cleanup has been completed.

Trees and Shrubs

If a tree that was planted in the last year or two blows over, stand it back up as soon as possible – preferably within a day of blowing over. Stake the tree to help it recover but remember to remove the stakes in 6 months

If a tree splits in half, as Bradford pears are prone to do, or loses over ½ of its canopy it really is not worth saving. The tree may continue to live for some time but will never recover its shape and eventually decay will set in and the tree will fail.

For broken branches that you can safely reach and remove, make sure you know where to cut! Poor pruning cuts result in decay and future problems.

If removing a branch requires you to climb a ladder with a chainsaw then play it safe! Hire a professional. Many tree care professionals can remove a tree, but if you want to preserve the tree, be sure to hire a certified arborist.

If multiple branches are broken in a shrub, cut the shrub back to 3’-4’ tall. Many shrubs can recover from this type of damage. Wax myrtles are particularly prone to falling apart during strong wind.

For perennials and ornamental grasses that blow over, go ahead and cut them back to around 2’ tall. They will not stand up again and staking them up is rarely successful. Add the clippings to the compost pile.

For annuals that fall apart, you may as well pull them up. It will be time to replace them in another month anyway.

If you live close to the ocean and salt spray has covered your shrubs and perennials rinse them off with clean water as soon as possible if rainfall does not do this for you.

General Safety Measures

Have at least two fire extinguishers, each with a UL rating of at least 10A, at every cleanup job.

Wear hard hats, goggles, heavy work gloves, and watertight boots with steel toe and insole (not just steel shank) for cleanup work.

Wear earplugs or protective headphones to reduce risk from equipment noise.

Use teams of two or more people to move bulky objects. Avoid lifting any material that weighs more than 50 pounds (per person).

When using a chain saw, operate the saw according to the manufacturer’s instructions, wear appropriate protective equipment, avoid contact with power lines, be sure that bystanders are at a safe distance, and take extra care in cutting trees or branches that have gotten bent or caught under another object. Use extreme caution to avoid electrical shock when using an electric chain saw.

If there has been a backflow of sewage into your house, wear rubber boots, rubber gloves, and goggles during cleanup of the affected area.

In hot weather, try to stay cool by staying in air-conditioned buildings, taking breaks in shaded areas or in cool rooms, drinking water and nonalcoholic fluids often, and wearing light and loose-fitting clothing. Do outdoor activities during cooler hours.

Hurricane Sandy impacted many of our medical alert customers, and our hopes and prayers are with all of you to get home safely!

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