Expert Tips for Surviving a Natural Disaster Until the Pros Arrive

storm damage restorationTens of thousands without power—and the necessities of lighting, heat, food and clean water. Fires consuming entire neighborhoods. Decades of personal belongings and business documents afloat in basements facing monumental water damage restoration. Residents along the East Coast had ample warning to evacuate or hunker down to ride out the storm. State officials, local leaders and law enforcement professionals were well informed and ready to make life-saving decisions. Emergency response crews and National Guard units from all over the country were poised to spring into action. And of course, America was ready to open its hearts and wallets to assist recovery efforts, because that’s what Americans do. Everyone did his or her very best, and that’s commendable. Still, the question remains: Can we ever be truly prepared for a natural disaster the likes of Hurricane Sandy? The superstorm struck and on its heels came a nor’easter, adding insult to injury to New Jerseyans and New Yorkers who were just beginning the process of restoring their lives. Speaking of the restoration process, it’s pretty clear that storm damage of this magnitude calls for the professionals. This is what storm and water damage recovery specialists like LDR Cleaning & Restoration train for: helping home and business owners clean and rebuild when the situation looks hopeless. However, disaster recovery professionals face their own monumental challenges during times of severe crisis: There simply aren’t enough of them…nor enough hours in the day…and in many cases, no physical way to reach everyone right away. Neighborhoods littered with storm debris (think boats casually tossed into front yards), blocked roadways, live wires down in flooded areas, and other obstacles make for slow, dangerous going as cleaning and recovery specialists and insurance adjustors alike struggle to reach the most urgent cases first. So, in the aftermath of a natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy, what steps can you take to begin the cleaning and recovery process when the professionals are delayed? Here are a few tips from the experts:
  • First and foremost, whatever you do, do it safely and take precautions.
  • Rule number one: Never enter an area of water if the power is still on! Make sure the power is OFF before entering a flooded basement, for example.
  • When stepping into a flooded area of your home or business, know that the water is contaminated. Floodwater contains viruses, bacteria and raw sewage. Protect your health by wearing tall rubber boots, waterproof gloves and a facemask or respirator. Don’t have these items on hand? Purchase them as part of your emergency preparedness plan before disaster strikes.
  • Avoid prolonged contact with contaminated water. After contact, wash thoroughly with an anti-bacterial soap like Dial®.
  • Wash all clothing in detergent and disinfectant after working in flooded areas.
  • Carpeting soaked in contaminated floodwater cannot be salvaged; it must be removed and disposed of. The same goes for fabrics in flooded vehicles.
  • Drywall at flood level—and the saturated insulation behind it—must also be cut out and discarded, as it will quickly become a paradise for mold spores.
  • Surfaces and items that can be cleaned should be given a thorough once-over with a disinfectant like Pine-Sol®. For health reasons, avoid mixing different cleaning solutions. Scrub, let it sit, rinse—then rinse again. (And try to ignore the irony that you are adding MORE water to the flooded area.)
  • Airflow is critical in drying out a flooded area. Although the weather outside may be cold, open the windows and run box fans if electricity is available.
  • Although patience is understandably stretched thin, summon yours because it will take days to dry out a flooded area. In the case of Hurricane Sandy, survivors can at least take comfort in the fact that fall is a less humid time of year, a plus in flood recovery.
By taking these steps, you can begin the cleaning and restoration process in your home or business until the professionals arrive to see you through completion. From all of us at LDR Cleaning & Restoration in Rockford, Illinois, please stay safe and send positive thoughts to our friends on the East Coast. The Red Cross has provided more than 5,400 workers, 58,000 overnight shelter stays, 1.6 million meals, and 91,600 relief items to victims of Hurricane Sandy. Needs continue to grow. Please contribute today at LDR Construction Services, Inc. Cleaning & Restoration has proudly served all of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin since 1991. LDR specializes in the complete repair of fire, smoke, wind, water and vandalism damage to both commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, the LDR disaster team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. For more information, visit or call 1-888-874-7066. Image courtesy of Free Disaster Planning Checklist  


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