5 min read

What Happens To Your Belongings After A Disaster?

Natural disasters can strike anywhere and anytime, causing significant damage and disruption to homes and businesses. Whether it is a flood, fire, earthquake, hurricane or tornado, the aftermath of a natural disaster can be overwhelming and stressful. Depending on the type and severity of the disaster, the contents of your home or office may be affected by water, fire, smoke, mold, debris, or other hazards. 

What happens to the contents of your home or office when there is a natural disaster? Read on for helpful information that can help you navigate this unexpected event.

Cleaning, Storing, and Repairing Contents

When a natural disaster damages your home or office, you may need to clean, store, and repair the contents that are salvageable. This process can vary depending on the type of disaster and the extent of the damage. For example, if your home or office is flooded by a hurricane or a storm, you may need to dry out and sanitize your belongings to prevent mold growth and contamination. If your home or office is burned by a wildfire or a fire, you may need to remove soot and smoke odor from your items. If your home or office is hit by an earthquake or a tornado, you may need to sort out and dispose of broken or damaged items.

Here are some of the steps involved in cleaning, storing, and repairing your belongings. You can do some tasks yourself, but others may require the help of a restoration and/or moving and storage company should you need to hire one.

  • Contact your insurance company to file a claim and document the damage.
  • Hire a professional restoration company to assess the damage and provide an estimate for the services.
  • Pack your items and transport them to a secure storage facility or a temporary location.
  • Clean and deodorize your items using specialized equipment and techniques.
  • Repair or restore your items, if possible, or replace them if necessary.
  • Pack your items and return them to your home or office once it is safe and restored.

Moving and Storing Contents

 Depending on the severity of the damage to your property, you may need to move out of your home or office temporarily while it is being restored. This means that you will need to find a suitable place to stay or work during this time. You will also need to store your contents securely until you can return to your property.

 Some of the options for moving and storing contents are:

  • Rent a hotel room or an apartment for short-term lodging.
  • Stay with relatives or friends who have extra space.
  • Work from home or from another location that has internet access and phone service.
  • Rent a storage unit or a portable container for storing your belongings.
  • Use a full-service moving company that offers packing, transportation, storage, and delivery services.

If you are a business owner, you may also need to find an alternative working space for your employees and operations. This may involve renting an office, a warehouse, or a factory. You may also need to find alternative equipment, supplies, communication systems, etc. for your business functions. You may need to modify your business plan, strategy, and goals to cope with your temporary situation.

Mold Remediation

 One of the common problems that can arise after a natural disaster is mold growth. Mold can grow on any organic material that is wet or damp for more than 24 hours. Mold can cause health problems such as allergies, asthma, infections, and respiratory issues. It can also damage your property by staining surfaces, weakening structures, and producing unpleasant odors.

 You can perform the first two of the steps involved in mold remediation yourself; if you need to hire a professional, however, they will take it from there. Mold remediation steps are:

  • Contact your insurance company to file a claim and document the damage.
  • Hire a certified mold remediation company to assess the extent of the mold growth and provide an estimate for the services.
  • Contain the affected area to prevent mold spores from spreading to other parts of your property.
  • Remove any materials that are contaminated by mold or cannot be cleaned.
  • Clean and disinfect any materials that can be salvaged using appropriate methods and products.
  • Dry out the affected area using fans, dehumidifiers, heaters, and other equipment. 
  • Apply anti-microbial agents to prevent mold from returning.

The best way to deal with natural disasters is to prepare for them in advance. For example, make sure you have adequate insurance coverage for your property and its contents; maintain copies of important documents such as identification, deeds, titles, contracts, and the like; have an inventory of your property and its contents, including photos, receipts, and serial numbers; have a backup of your digital data such as files, photos, and contacts; and rent a safe deposit box or a fireproof safe that can store your valuables and documents. 

Be prepared – a natural disaster doesn’t have to be a total disaster for you!