Road to Recovery: First steps when returning home

Road to Recovery: part 1

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - As many people are taking the first steps back inside their homes after flooding, safety and protection is key.

Part one of the After Florence: Road to Recovery series begins with Lowe’s Hardware, who has some helpful tips and tools for homeowners to take advantage of.

“You want to be able to put your life back together, that’s what I’ve learned more than anything,” John Walling, Lowe’s Store Manager said.

Walling knows the recovery process far too well after experiencing the historic 2016 flooding in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Walling said he was transferred to Myrtle Beach to help serve post Hurricane Florence families in need.

“This rain event, the hurricane, it’s touched everyone and it’s a dramatic community impact for us. Everyone is at different stages, some homes had taken water and water damage, lost product and property or some lost power,” Walling stated.

Whether someone is living temporarily or just moving back home to assess the damage. Walling explained just because some of the water may be gone, everything the water touched is still there. Walling advises people to safely remove items first and start the post storm cleanup wearing waterproof gloves, protective eyewear and coveralls.

“You want to also use a respirator dust mask because it actually blocks organics and organic material will flow through a regular dust mask and you can become infected mold can cause lung infection, bronchial infections,” said Walling.

Mold is the number one health concern when moving back home. Walling explained, “Mold will growth and by the time you see it growing inside your home it is excessive and it is deep. What you see on the surface is much deeper, its permeated your floors, permeated your walls, depending on your water level it could be in your ceilings. It is absorbed into your walls and floors, its expands out and up, it’s what you don’t see that gets you.”

(Source: Audrey Biesk)

Air quality is another concern and to help regulate air quality, dehumidifiers are key. Walling said, “You’re going to have a high level of humidity in your home post storm, you want to absolutely want start removing that as soon as possible.” If there was any sort of standing water inside a house, Walling advises people to purchase damp rid, it’s a moisture absorber that sits in any room and the gel absorbs the moisture.

“You could also use an electronic moisture meter. You would just place it on the surface your trying to monitor and it would tell you how much moisture is on it. On anything, soft wood, hardwood or drywall,” Walling added.

While the recovery process continues, Walling said one things for sure. “We have such a strong resilient community here I know they’ll bounce back. Once we assess what we have we will really help them get back to where they need to be. I want to help them go home that’s why we’re here.”

Do you have questions that we haven’t answered? Email them to FlorenceRecovery@wmbfnews.com or call 843-798-9820 to leave a message with your name, number and your question.

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