Hurricane Ian has left much of Southwest Florida, including Lee County, Collier County, and other counties devastated due to high winds, fallen debris, and flooding. In the aftermath of any hurricane, you might be anxious to get home, inspect your property, and begin the cleanup process. But it’s important to know how to go about hurricane cleanup safely and smartly to prevent further damage to your property and prevent injury.

Always Examine the Area Safely

While your home may look relatively safe from the outside, you should always examine any flooded or damaged area carefully. For example, never walk through floodwaters, as murky water can hide dangers like downed power lines, sharp objects, snakes, and other obstructions.

Similarly, stay well clear of any power lines you see. Some powerlines may still be active even if they have fallen or collapsed. Other smart safety tips as you examine your property prior to hurricane cleanup include:

● Stay hydrated throughout the day to prevent overexertion

● Wash your hands with soap and clean water frequently and avoid touching your face

● Never use lighters in areas where there may be a gas leak

● Only drink water if you know it’s safe; don’t assume floodwater is safe without testing

Have Hurricane Cleanup Gear On Hand

As you examine your home or property, be sure to have appropriate safety and cleaning gear ready to go. At a bare minimum, you should bring:

● Cleaning supplies like bleach, sponges, scouring pads, disinfected soap, and more

● A dust mask for everyone in your party

● Buckets for picking up trash

● Heavy-duty, chemical-resistant gloves

● Large, durable garbage bags

● At least one trashcan

● Plenty of towels

Armed with this expeditionary gear, you’ll be able to pick up garbage as you find it and keep your hands and lungs safe as you explore.

Take Plenty of Pictures and Notes for Insurance Claims

During your hurricane cleanup efforts, you may discover damage you can claim under your insurance policy. Take lots of pictures and notes as you explore; that way, you’ll have plenty of evidence on hand when you file your insurance claim, which will help your claim get processed more quickly during this busy time.

Prioritize Hurricane Cleanup Before Repairs

You might be tempted to start rebuilding damaged walls, roofs, or other property right off the bat. But it’s smarter to prioritize cleaning your home by getting rid of floodwater and mold instead.

Floodwater can be a major contaminant since it may contain hazardous waste and bacteria. It may also lead to mold growing in and around your property. With that in mind, try to get rid of water first and foremost, then clean the rest of your property’s walls, floors, and other areas where mold may grow.

Don’t Undertake Big Projects Without Help

As your hurricane recovery efforts continue, recognize that some larger projects – like redoing your front lawn, cleaning out your pool, or removing a fallen tree – may require the help of experts or contracting organizations. For instance, Green & Clean can help you replace your front yard’s landscape or help you clean out your pool safely and efficiently.

Cleaning up after a hurricane will always be a time-consuming process. Think of it as a marathon, not a sprint. With that in mind, contact professionals to assist as you rebuild your home to ensure it’s done right.