Return Home Only after Officials Have Declared It Safe
If an area has been evacuated, wait for officials to give approval before reentering your home. Once there, carefully assess the outside of the home for loose power lines, foundation cracks, or other visual evidence that reentry may be unsafe, and contact professional help if necessary.
Take Pictures of Damage before Cleanup
Should you need evidence of damage caused by the hurricane for insurance claims, taking photographs before beginning any cleanup procedures is key. ANSI/I3A IT10.2000-2004, Photography - Digital still cameras - JPEG 2000 DSC profile, is an American National Standard (ANS) that specifies a profile of JPEG 2000 suitable for use in digital still cameras, allowing captured images to be properly transferred and read on a computer or photo printer. This standard was developed by the International Imaging Industry Association (I3A), a member and accredited standards developer of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).
Wear Rubber Gloves and Boots during Cleanup
When coming in contact with floodwaters, it is important to wear waterproof garments on your hands and feet during cleanup procedures, as water may be contaminated.
Use Dehumidifiers and Fans to Eliminate Excess Moisture
Following the heavy rain and winds of a hurricane, many homes have excess moisture trapped inside. Running a dehumidifier or fan for several hours or days can help to get rid of this moisture, reducing the possibility of mold growth in the home. ANSI/AHAM DH-1-2003, Dehumidifiers, establishes a uniform, repeatable procedure for measuring the capacity and energy input of dehumidifiers under specified test conditions. This ANS was developed by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), an ANSI member and accredited standards developer.
Remove Wet Wallpaper, Drywall, and Insulation
Wet wallpaper, drywall, and insulation are a prime areas for mold to sprout and accumulate, and should be removed as soon as possible.
Scrub Interior Surfaces with Diluted Bleach after Flooding
Any interior surfaces in the home that have come in contact with floodwaters should be scrubbed thoroughly with diluted bleach or household cleaners containing bleach. ASTM D2022-89(2008), Standard Test Methods of Sampling and Chemical Analysis of Chlorine-Containing Bleaches, provides test methods for assessing these cleaners. This document was developed by ASTM International, an ANSI member and audited designator.
Hurricane damage must be taken very seriously. Contact a professional if you suspect your home has sustained structural or mold damage. For more information, see the CDC page on Floodwater after a Disaster or Emergency and the Red Cross Hurricane Recovery page.