Three days after Hurricane Sandy left record flooding in Long Branch and Eatontown in a near direct-hit, residents are back and beginning the cleanup work.
Here's some practical advice on everything from where to dispose of trash to how to volunteer to help.
This is a living document. We'll add new segments as new questions and issues arise. Readers are invited to post questions and advice in the comments section below.
FLOOD INSURANCE CLAIMS
- First, report the claim to your insurance agent.
- Take photos of all damaged property, especially any water lines indicating height of flood water on the exterior and in each affected room.
- It is the responsibility of the the policyholder to protect the property from any further damage.
- Remove wet carpeting and padding; if they got wet, the sub-flooring is also wet and needs to dry out.
- Keep a 3x3 foot square of carpet and padding for the adjuster.
- Cut drywall a few inches above the water line. Once drywall is wet, it is ruined.
- Insulation in the crawlspace that was damaged needs to be removed.
- Keep any damaged materials and property so it can be inspected by the insurance adjuster.
- Separate damaged property from undamaged personal belongings.
- Place damaged contents in a garage or a safe location as the adjuster needs to see the contents.
DO NOT THROW OUT CONTENTS UNTIL AFTER THE ADJUSTER HAS SEEN EVERYTHING!
IF YOU THROW IT OUT BEFORE THE ADJUSTER CAN SEE IT, THEY CANNOT PAY YOU FOR IT!
- Inventory your damaged contents and estimate the date purchased and cost.
- DOCUMENT: Take before and after photos of damage and what you do to clean up and protect against further damage. A verbal statement of what you have done will NOT be enough for the insurance adjuster. You must have documentation. Photos are perfect!
For more information, visit: www.floodsmart.gov
For cars: Flood damage is covered under comprehensive coverage and is subject to a deductible.
TIPS TO PREVENT POST-FLOODING MOLD
The Federal Emergency Management Agency offers the following post-flood cleanup advice:
Mold and mildew can start growing within 24 hours after a flood, and can lurk throughout a home, from the attic to the basement and crawl spaces. The best defense is to clean, dry or, as a last resort, discard moldy items.
Although it can be hard to get rid of a favorite chair, a child’s doll or any other precious treasure to safeguard the well-being of your loved ones, a top-to-bottom home cleanup is your best defense, according to the experts.
Many materials are prone to developing mold if they are damp or wet for too long. Start a post-flood cleanup by sorting all items exposed to floodwaters:
- Wood and upholstered furniture, and other porous materials can trap mold and may need to be discarded.
- Glass, plastic and metal objects and other items made of hardened or nonporous materials can often be cleaned, disinfected and reused.
- Carpeting is a problem because drying it out does not remove mold spores. Carpets with mold and mildew should be removed.
All flood-dampened surfaces should be cleaned, disinfected and dried as soon as possible. Follow these tips to ensure a safe and effective cleanup:
- Open windows for ventilation and wear rubber gloves and eye protection when cleaning. Consider using a mask rated N-95 or higher if heavy concentrations of mold are present.
- Use a non-ammonia soap or detergent to clean all areas and washable items that came in contact with floodwaters.
- Mix 1-1/2 cups of household bleach in one gallon of water and thoroughly rinse and disinfect the area. Never mix bleach with ammonia as the fumes are toxic.
- Cleaned areas can take several days to dry thoroughly. The use of heat, fans and dehumidifiers can speed up the drying process.
- Check out all odors. It’s possible for mold to hide in the walls or behind wall coverings. Find all mold sources and clean them properly.
- Remove and discard all materials that can’t be cleaned, such as wallboard, fiberglass and cellulose areas. Then clean the wall studs where wallboard has been removed, and allow the area to dry thoroughly.
Property and business owners should immediately begin the disaster application process by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov,
by web enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov
or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).
Disaster assistance applicants, who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362.
The toll-free telephone numbers are available from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) Monday through Sunday until further notice.
Applicants registering for aid should be prepared to provide basic information about themselves (name, permanent address, phone number), insurance coverage and any other information to help substantiate losses.
The city is working now to coordinate volunteer opportunities. Stay posted for more detail.
FAQs FROM THE CITY
To help New Jersey's residents clean up their homes and businesses after Hurricane Sandy, the Department of Health is making public health experts available through the state's 2-1-1 system to answer questions about food and water safety and mold removal, Gov. Chris Christie's office announced Thursday.
To reach health experts, call 2-1-1 or 1-866-234-0964. Public health officials will be available to take calls 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. The 2-1-1 human services hotline is open 24/7.
The Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce offers the following:
"It is important that homeowners and business owners contact trusted contractors with good credentials and with mercantile licenses. Do not be scammed out of resources by people claiming to be contractors, taking an initial deposit and leaving town.
Here is a link to some of our trusted contractors and clean-up crews: http://www.oceancityvacation.com/business-directory/home-garden.html "
FREE CLEANING PRODUCT SAMPLES
The Simple Green Bus will be in Ocean Cit on Friday (Nov. 2) at 10 a.m. at the Ocean City Firehouse parking lot at the corner of 6th and Asbury with coffee, doughnuts and free product samples (nontoxic, biodegradable all-purpose cleaner).
Due to the storm damage sustained to the Tax Collection office located on the first floor of City Hall, we are asking tax payers, if possible, to please pay their taxes online or by mail until a temporary facility has been established.
City Hall Offices will be closed November 12, 2012 and the grace period has been extended to and ends November 13.
Please be advised that postmarks are not accepted in accordance with the State of New Jersey tax laws, therefore the payment must be received by November 13, 2012.
Taxes can be paid on line at www.ocnj.us/tax. If you are using the bill pay feature with your bank, please allow sufficient time, 7-10 days for your payment to reach us. The tax collection web site is sent directly to our bank account whereas using the bill pay feature of your own bank will require a check to be sent to this office.
The new location for the Tax Collection office will be posted once available. Limited operations are available on the 2nd floor at 861 Asbury Ave. from 8:45 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. Monday thru Friday. Our phone number is 609-525-9379.