If your home suffered water damage, depending on how high the water rose, you may have lost your utilities, most of your furniture, your washing machine and dryer and refrigerator. Anything that worked on electricity or wasn’t made of plastic may have been soaked and possibly ruined.
The first step is to get rid of all that is destroyed and can’t be saved. Remember to take pictures of everything from different angles so you can make an insurance claim. Some heirlooms and paperwork can be saved. Visit https://www.fema.gov/media-collection/heritage-emergency-national-task-force for more information.
As you move wet and damaged things out of the home, you need to sort them by category and place them at the side of the road in separate piles. It all needs to be placed by the roadside.
Here are the six piles you’ll need. You don’t want to touch things twice:
- Electronics: These have components that may be dangerous. Some parts may be able to be recycled.
- Appliances: Some have gasses or other components that need special handling. (Appliances are sometimes called White Goods.)
- Hazardous material: Waste with properties that make it potentially harmful to human health or the environment.
- Vegetative material: Large piles of tree limbs and branches. Much of this can be burned or ground up and given back to the community as mulch. These measures reduce the amount of waste going into a landfill by 75 – 95 percent.
- Construction material: Damaged components of buildings and structures—wood, glass, metal, roofing material, tile, carpeting, concrete, equipment.
- Household garbage: Almost all foodstuff from a home will have spoiled without refrigeration.
Once everything that can’t be saved has been readied for pickup, recovery can begin. By sorting and moving debris curbside, you will have begun to take control of your own situation; your community benefits from a speedier and less costly recovery.