After devastating Hurricane Ida left countless homes and businesses in Southwest Louisiana in various states of disrepair, the LSU AgCenter LaHouse Home and Landscape Resource Center is serving those repairing their residences and facilities with valuable information/home restoration resources, according to this article from the University’s Agricultural Center.
The Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, which has been formally operating under the LSU umbrella since 1971 and has only grown to operate out of 15 total research stations, extension offices in all 64 parishes, and 14 academic and research departments at LSU A&M. Funded by a partnership with federal, state, and local governments, grants, and private funds, the LSU AGCenter is one of the LSU System’s nine total campuses, and since late august’s Hurricane Ida left many in the area beginning to repair their residential and commercial structures on their own, the AgCenter is distributing valuable information and guidance at no cost to residents.
Citizens are being advised to visit the “Flood Recovery and Resilience” page that is located on the LSU AgCenter website for a curated selection of articles and publications on storm recovery and strategies to avoid similar damage in the future.
Claudette Reichel is a housing specialist for the LSU AgCenter who told the University’s press that repairing one’s home following a terrible weather event can be a massively daunting and stressful ordeal due to the financial and health-related costs. She told the press, “the expense, time, and work that go into repairing your home can have a silver lining with clean-up and restoration methods that reward you with a more resilient, healthy, energy-efficient and comfortable home. Even when money is tight, there are opportunities to make choices for a better home.”
One of the more valuable resources located on the LSU AgCenter’s Storm Clean-Up page is the guidance of a publication entitled “Storm Damage Cleanup,” which offers its readers the following tips to adhere when completing repairs following this past storm or preparing for the next one.
- Before you enter any home that has flooded, you should ensure that all electrical and gas supply lines have been disconnected and carefully assess all potential dangers such as structural damages and snakes prior to entry.
- For peace of mind, have a professional assess and inspect all service appliances and fixtures prior to their use.
- A building that has been flood-damaged will require special attention in order to avoid or correct a “mold population explosion.” Please follow the 10-steps listed in the AgCenter’s fact sheet for safe and effective DIY mold removal.
- It’s suggested that moldy, porous items such as carpeting and gypsum wallboard be removed as soon as possible. Additionally, you should clean and disinfect all surfaces that came into contact with floodwaters and allow those materials to dry thoroughly.
- You should throw out any food preparation and food storage items made out of wood or plastic that came in contact with floodwater and sanitize all metal and ceramic items that came into contact as well.
- Test all well water following a storm and refrain from drinking it until it is deemed safe to do so.
- Be advised that any homes built prior to 1978 will likely have lead-based paint and materials containing asbestos, so proper precautions should be taken when conducting repairs, renovations, or “gutting the walls.”
- All wet carpet should be removed instead of salvaged while Solid hardwood and ceramic floor tiling can often be restored depending on the types of damage that occurred. When in doubt, it’s best to replace the flooring.
- When assessing a home that has come into contact with significant amounts of floodwater, you should determine which pieces of damaged furniture can be salvageable. For instance, wooden pieces of furniture can often be restored if they are properly cleaned and allowed to sufficiently dry while upholstered furniture is often found to be incredibly difficult to restore, especially if the item was fully submerged.
Outside of the flood-damage tips, the LSU AgCenter offers an in-depth page of frequently asked questions that cover a wide range of topics that can be pertinent to the resident repairing a recently-flooded home such as replacing insulation and drying home materials.
In addition to offering the public an array of tips and suggested guidance for getting home restoration and getting things back in working order following a damaging storm, precautions should be taken to “wet floodproof” the home to reduce future damage. The term refers to making improvements such as elevating appliances, making repairs with water-resistant materials, and taking precautions to prevent wicking. If these “wet floodproofing” strategies are in place by the time the next tropical depression, heavy thunderstorm, or hurricane comes to town, then there will be a much easier cleanup once the bad weather has passed, thanks to the resources provided by the LSU AgCenter.
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