Hurricane Cleanup Tips for North Carolina Homeowners
If you’ve called North Carolina home for at least one hurricane season, you’ve most likely taken the precautions to prepare for a storm coming through—but what about the hurricane cleanup? What safety gear, tools, and resources might you want to have at the ready?
In the wake of a hurricane that’s left your home or property damaged, you don’t need any extra stress. A few simple steps can streamline the emotional and overwhelming post-storm process.
From dumpster rentals and curbside trash services, to stump grinding and tree removal, Wall Recycling’s waste management services can help you dispose of debris left after a hurricane or major storm.
Safety Gear for Hurricane Cleanup
Safety comes first when it comes to debris removal and home repairs after a storm. It’s a good idea to keep safety gear on hand, or to have a checklist of what you might need to pick up from your local department or home improvement store soon after to keep you safe when cleaning:
- Safety goggles
- Hard hats
- N95 respirator masks
- Heavy-duty work gloves
- Waterproof boots
- A fire extinguisher
Once you have your arsenal of protective gear procured, you can make a game plan for cleaning up.
Guide to Hurricane Cleanup
Between 1980 and 2021, hurricanes caused more than a trillion dollars in damage in the U.S.—around $20.5 billion per event according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. That damage can be catastrophic, and the clean up, costly. Use this step-by-step guide to safely examine and clean up your property after a major storm.
1. Assess the Outside
If you have had to evacuate, make sure you have gotten the go-ahead from officials to return home and check the damage. That means making sure roads are safe to drive on, and any fallen power lines and debris have been cleared safely by professionals. If you have not evacuated, be sure the storm has completely passed, and it is safe to step outside.
Once you are able to assess the outside of your property, take stock of any major damage or potential safety hazards that may need to be addressed before you can go any further. Power lines that have fallen, blown transformers, gas line leaks, or structural damage to the roof may first require a professional to consult and take care of the issue.
2. Contact Your Insurance Provider
Next, get in touch with your insurance provider to alert them of the damage. In the event of some particularly powerful storms, some providers might set up disaster relief programs that can get your claim processed and paid more quickly.
3. Take Photos and Videos
Your insurance company may ask for a damage inventory, so it’s important that you document as much of the damage as possible before you begin cleanup. You can take photos of everything that appears to have been damaged, but the easiest and most convenient way to record the damage for many homeowners is a video walk-through.
Turn on a camcorder or open your phone’s video recorder, and carefully walk through and around the house, getting a clear view of all the damage you can see and noting the details. That includes furniture, electronics, walls, floors, the roof, and anything else significantly impacted by the storm.
4. Tackle Water Damage (Safely!)
Once you have done your due diligence to be sure you can safely start cleanup, the next step will be to address any water damage that has occurred.
First, remove any excess pooled water using either a wet/dry vacuum or a push broom. You should open any windows and doors to allow your space to completely dry out—as long as it isn’t super humid outside. Rent fans or use any you have on hand to help circulate air throughout the space.
You may also want to invest in a dehumidifier to help leech any water vapor out of the air that might remain. Just be sure to close windows and doors when doing so.
Soggy or water-logged drywall, insulation, and flooring should be removed and replaced.
5. Mold and Mildew
If mold or mildew have appeared on surfaces in your home, address that as soon as you can safely. With the right safety gear on—mask, goggles, and protective gloves—take the following steps:
- Use a bristle brush to scrub hard surfaces including floors, molding, furniture, and countertops with soapy water. You can use dish detergent for this part of the cleanup.
- For moderate to severe mold and mildew, use a solution of one cup household laundry bleach to one gallon of water. Scrub surfaces with this solution, then thoroughly wipe them clean.
- Dry all surfaces as soon as possible.
6. Sanitize Items That You Can Save
After you’ve tackled mold or mildew, turn your attention to any other items that need to be sanitized. Even if an item doesn’t have visible mold, it may still have been contaminated by flood waters that carry harmful bacteria.
Products specifically designed for cleaning and restoring wood, sanitizing wipes, and household cleaners can be used to wipe down these surfaces.
7. Discard Damaged Items
For those items that are too far gone to salvage, as well as drywall and flooring that have had to be removed, proper disposal is key. You can DIY this clean up by placing damaged electronics, furniture, and construction materials curbside and contacting your municipality for pick up times and directions, or you can simplify the whole process with a residential dumpster rental. Wall Recycling also offers scheduled trash pickup in Wilmington.
Wall Recycling has residential roll-off dumpster rentals, so all you have to do is fill it up and schedule a pick-up time that’s convenient for you. No need to worry about making sure you comply with complicated recycling rules and regulations, Wall Recycling does that for you once we pick up your dumpster.
8. Call Reinforcements
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The days and weeks following a hurricane, especially one that has caused damage to your home, are emotionally and physically draining. From contacting your insurance company, to adapting your daily schedule to fit these new challenges, to cleanup: it’s a lot for anyone to juggle.
Consider recruiting family and friends for a cleanup day. Having a team around you can make hurricane damage cleanup less time consuming, and can help you feel less alone in a stressful time. In some cases, a professional biohazard cleanup team or flood experts may be the only ones who can safely address all the concerns after a storm, so give them a call if you have any concerns.
9. Clear the Debris from Your Property
Hurricane cleanup can be time consuming and exhausting! After a major storm you’ll likely have branches, garbage, and other debris strewn about your property. There are three steps to tackle yard cleanup after a hurricane:
- Ensure that you have the proper safety gear and tools to break down yard waste and tree debris. This can include safety goggles, a hard hat, gloves, rakes, shovels, chainsaw, and rope.
- Assess the extent of the damage and come up with a plan. If you find that there are large limbs dangling from trees that are still standing on your property, you’ll need to remove them or contact a professional to cut down the hazardous parts of your tree to prevent further damage. If you have friends or family helping, assign each of them a type of task to focus on such as raking leaves, sawing large limbs, or bundling branches.
- Prepare your yard waste for pickup. Gather the debris, tree limbs, and branches into manageable bundles. Your scheduled trash pickup should collect most items, but it doesn’t hurt to call your local waste management service provider to confirm. If you find that they may not collect all of your yard waste, call Wall Recycling. We make cleaning up after a major storm easier by providing convenient dumpster rentals. You can also take your yard waste, scrap metal, or concrete debris to a Wall Recycling location near you, or call any of our locations to learn about our trash services. We have trash service centers across North Carolina, including Wilmington, Raleigh, Durham, Goldsboro, and beyond! We are here to make hurricane cleanup easier.
CALL WALL RECYCLING TODAY!
If you’re in the middle of hurricane cleanup at your home, renting a dumpster can save you valuable time and energy. At Wall Recycling, we have several dumpster rental options perfect for any size project, and can drop them off at your earliest convenience.
Once you fill them up, we come to you to remove the dumpster, and return to our waste management facility to properly dispose of all items.
Contact us today for hurricane cleanup help or for trusted waste management services.