The flood clean-up: what to do when you return home

As flood waters began to recede in Townsville and people started to return to their homes, RACQ has reminded residents to put a plan in place before they began the clean-up.

Flood, Home

RACQ spokesperson Lucinda Ross said the return home could be confronting and upsetting for people, but if they had a plan of action, it might make the task less daunting.

“We understand it could be overwhelming coming back to your property, or if you’re starting the clean-up, but we want to reassure our members that it’ll get better from here and we’re here to help,” Ms Ross said.

Ms Ross said there were some practical tips home owners could use in their clean-up:
1. Check you’re protected by wearing light clothing, that keeps your skin covered. Put some rubber boots on your feet and rubber
gloves on your hands. Mud is slippery and very dirty, so avoid going bare foot
2. Safety first – don’t attempt to enter your property if it feels unsafe. If urgent assistance is required, call your local SES on 132 500 and if you see an electrical risk, call Energex on 13 19 62
3. Take photos of the damage – capture the damage through pictures of the structure and close up pics of damage to carpets, curtains, mould on walls and other items which have been affected
4. Keep damp areas well ventilated – open windows and let things dry out (if it’s stopped raining) but always maintain security if leaving the property
5. Dispose of any food waste or other items that may be a health hazard
6. Throw out items that have been damaged (but get a photo first) – things like wet carpets, curtains and other damaged goods. If possible, retain a sample of these materials, like carpet or flooring (only if it’s safe to do so)
7. Keep receipts if you need to purchase essential items such as bedding or clothing
8. Record serial and model numbers from appliances
9. Lodge your claim with us – call 13 7202 or start the process online at www.racq.com.au.

Ms Ross reminded people to take their time in the clean-up as it could be a lengthy process.

“Take regular breaks, drink plenty of fluids and don’t let yourself overheat,” she said.

“With humidity high in Townsville, mould could become an issue in homes and businesses but don’t try to clean it with vinegar as it could be a health hazard. Take photos of it and then walk away.

“As part of your insurance claim we’ll conduct toxicity reports and have the mould professionally cleaned if it’s an issue in your home.

“Residents are going to be confronted by a lot of mud too and the best way to deal with that is with brooms, shovels, sugar soap and probably more water to shift it from surfaces.”