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Cleaning Flooded Buildings
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This Fact Sheet was developed to help building owners, operators, contractors, and volunteer assistance groups deal with the challenges of working in structures that were not fully cleaned and dried shortly after the flooding. Remember that when first returning to a flood-damaged building, responders should follow the initial precautions and restoration steps detailed in the FEMA Recovery Advisory, The ABC’s of Returning to Flooded Buildings (Appendix E of FEMA 549, 2005). When a flooded home has not been cleaned and dried within a few weeks of the flood event, mold contamination should be expected, and specific steps are needed to clean and restore the home. Basic cleaning and drying information is presented in the FEMA Recovery Advisory Initial Restoration for Flooded Buildings (FEMA 549, 2005), which specifies five steps for post-flood building restoration, including (1) air out, (2) move out, (3) tear out, (4) clean out, and (5) dry out. This Fact Sheet builds on the last two of these steps and assumes that the majority of the muck-out and gutting process has been completed and the home is ready for cleaning and drying. Key Issues • Floodwaters carry a variety of contaminants such as bacteria, oil, heavy metals, and pesticides. While first responders’ initial evaluations of Hurricane Sandy floodwaters indicated that exposure to such items are below current limits for safe occupancy, proper cleaning and preparation for rebuilding is critical to protect workers and occupants from both short-term hazards and long-term risk. • Other hazards are present in addition to the substances brought in with the floodwaters, especially in homes that were not dried out within a week of the flooding. Safety issues related to wet mechanical and electrical systems, exposure to lead and asbestos released from building materials, and mold growth need to be addressed. • Mold is a serious health hazard if the home is reoccupied without proper cleaning. Although a variety of products and techniques can reduce and control mold, the cleaning and drying process described in this Fact Sheet also helps to remove other floodwater contaminants. Personal Safety Flooded buildings can pose a number of health and safety risks, for both individuals who wish to maintain occupancy and those who work to repair them. Eliminating hazards is the best way to protect occupants and workers; however, until conditions can be returned to normal, anyone working in a flooded building should use appropriate personal safety equipment and take appropriate safety precautions.
Hoarder Symptoms #HereToHelp!
Call SERVPRO of River Oaks anytime at 713-666-9222
Each hoarding situation is different:
The way they started hoarding, the items they collect, the reasoning behind it, the conditions it is in.
Because each situation is different we handle each case on a case by case scenario. A hoarder home is one of the most difficult types of jobs to handle. Not only do we need to make sure that the contents are packed and boxed in order for us to do our job (handle the water damage/fire) but we also have to be mindful that these contents more than likely holds significant value to our customer.
How does one get into the situation where their home is completely full of contents and they are to the extreme buried alive?
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Hoarding is the persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions, regardless of their actual value. The behavior usually has deleterious effects—emotional, physical, social, financial, and even legal—for a hoarder and family members.
For those who hoard, the quantity of their collected items sets them apart from other people. Commonly hoarded items may be newspapers, magazines, paper and plastic bags, cardboard boxes, photographs, household supplies, food, and clothing.
Hoarding can be related to compulsive buying (such as never passing up a bargain), the compulsive acquisition of free items (such as collecting flyers), or the compulsive search for perfect or unique items (which may not appear to others as unique, such as an old container).
SYMPTOMS AND BEHAVIOR
Someone who hoards may exhibit the following:
- Inability to throw away possessions
- Severe anxiety when attempting to discard items
- Great difficulty categorizing or organizing possessions
- Indecision about what to keep or where to put things
- Distress, such as feeling overwhelmed or embarrassed by possessions
- Suspicion of other people touching items
- Obsessive thoughts and actions: fear of running out of an item or of needing it in the future; checking the trash for accidentally discarded objects
- Functional impairments, including loss of living space, social isolation, family or marital discord, financial difficulties, health hazards
I know that embarrassment can keep people from seeking help but REGARDLESS OF THE REASONING WE ARE HERE TO HELP.
Spring Cleaning Tips
Spring has officially sprung and that means it is time for spring cleaning! If you think the only way to clean your home is with harsh chemicals, think again! You can clean almost every surface in your home with distilled white vinegar. Get every room in your home looking clean and smelling fresh by following these spring cleaning tips.
Over the course of the winter, your carpet may have developed an odor and it may have sand, salt, and dirt trapped inside of it. Help eliminate the odor and remove anything trapped inside of the carpet by mixing essential oils and distilled white vinegar. Before applying this mixture, test it out on a small area of your carpet because some fabrics are sensitive and it may cause damage.
Over time, windows get dirty or develop smudges. You can make your windows look crystal clear by mixing one part hot water and one part distilled white vinegar in a spray bottle. Simply spray the solution on the window and wipe away to clean.
Follow these three steps to make your windows truly shine.
- Clean from the top down.
- Do NOT clean your windows in direct sunlight. This will cause streaking.
- Avoid damage to your window frames by drying immediately.
Dust mites and odors are inevitable when it comes to mattresses. You can help eliminate them by doing the following steps.
- Remove all sheets and blankets from the bed.
- Spray mattress with distilled white vinegar.
- Sprinkle baking soda over the white vinegar and let it bubble.
- Place a towel over mattress for 1-2 hours or until dry.
- Vacuum up any residue from the baking soda.
You probably want to avoid using harsh chemicals where you store your food. Follow these steps to get your refrigerator looking like new!
- Remove all contents from the refrigerator.
- Wash shelves and the sides of the refrigerator with one part hot water and one part distilled white vinegar.
- Dry all areas of the refrigerator
- Wipe down jars before putting them back in the refrigerator.
Over the course of time, your tub can build up with grime and soap residue. You can eliminate the buildup with ease by doing the following.
- Fill a spray bottle with one part hot water and one part distilled white vinegar
- Spray mixture in the tub and let it sit for 15 minutes.
- Wipe clean with a sponge or a towel
- Rise tub with water and wipe again