After a tornado, many who lose their homes or suffer damage to their homes find the task of cleaning up and salvaging their belongings to be overwhelming. Having assisted family members with cleanup after a tornado, I noted small things that it seems many people might forget about when bringing supplies for salvage and cleanup. It is easy to become overwhelmed by the enormity of the cleanup necessary after a tornado and simple things can be forgotten.
Gloves — Heavy work gloves as well as latex or rubber gloves are a must for cleanup and salvage. Depending upon the amount of destruction in the home and the amount of time before you can get back in to do salvage, there may be mold and mildew and other hazards that rubber gloves will help protect you from. Heavy gloves will protect your hands if you are dealing with broken glass, splintered wood and nails.
Boxes — Believe it or not, you might forget the need for boxes — either plastic lidded bins or cardboard boxes — to pack stuff into. These are important and you will definitely need them as you sort and find household and personal items that are not damaged beyond repair.
Permanent Markers — Permanent markers are necessary so you can write on your boxes what is in them. This will help you later on when you need to sort through the salvaged items. Be sure to write on all four sides of any box.
Utility Knife or Scissors — Don’t forget a utility knife or scissors. You might need to cut things apart, cut tape or use your knife or scissors for some other purpose while you are sorting and salvaging.
Duct Tape or Packing Tape — You will need tape to secure the boxes. If your home is repairable, you may need to tape up windows and doorways that have been broken and the duct tape will be invaluable for that purpose.
String — There are many reasons why you might need string. You may have to drag heavier items out of the way or you may need to tie up salvaged items. String is a good supply to have on hand, even if you don’t actually need it.
Heavy Trash Bags — Be sure to bring plenty of heavy trash bags to your cleanup. These can be used to cover windows, doorways, furniture and other items or they can be used to hold trash or salvaged items. Linens and clothing can be loaded into trash bags instead of boxes so you can save your boxes for heavier items.
Hand Sanitizer — Even when you are using gloves, you will still want hand sanitizer with you. You may have to stop for a break to eat and the utilities will most certainly be off, so sanitizer will be an important supply.
Dust Mask — In the event of mold, mildew and dust, a mask will help protect your lungs while you work.
First Aid Kit — Be sure to have a first aid kit on hand that includes bandages, antibiotic ointment, peroxide, pain reliever, tweezers and any other desired first aid supplies. You never know when you may receive slight injuries from broken glass, wood splinters, metal, nails and the like.