Safely Clean-Up a Yard After a Hurricane or Other Storm Passes
In the aftermath of a Hurricane like we experienced with Irma yards are often covered with fallen trees, broken branches and scattered debris. Post-storm clean-up can present some dangers, so it’s important to take your time and use caution as you clean up the debris.
Here are some clean-up and safety tips to help you clean-up your yard once the storm passes.
- Survey the area for damage: Walk around your property to inspect overall damage and take pictures as documentation. Check overhead for downed power lines and hanging branches. Treat all downed power lines as if they are energized and call FPL immediately to report the problem. You can also open a ticket online on their website.
- Clean-up takes time: After a severe storm it’s not uncommon for homeowners to be anxious to get things back to normal quickly. Prior to using a chain saw or other outdoor power tools for clean-up, make sure to review the operator’s manual and follow suggested guidelines to remove fallen trees. It may take days or weeks to clean up your yard after a storm. Take your time and take breaks when you feel tired or your muscles are fatigued. Stay hydrated, the Florida heat will quickly drain your body of water and salt.
- Wear protective gear: Eliminate injuries by dressing appropriately and using protective eyewear and durable gloves.
- Repair trees: Damage can increase a tree’s susceptibility to insects and diseases. If trees show signs of damage, they should be properly treated to maintain their health. Pruning damaged branches can help restore the tree. You should also remove broken and hanging branches to ensure safety, plus prevent additional property damage.
- Use the experts: More serious damage to trees should be treated by a tree specialist. This is especially important if extensive removal of large branches is required. As always, never try to remove branches or trees from utility lines.
- Waste disposal: Materials from fallen or salvaged trees can be used in several ways. The larger branches can be cut and used for firewood, while smaller branches and twigs can be used as kindling or added to the compost pile. Check with your city for pickup schedules and proper sizing of materials. Remember waste pickup will likely be overrun with volume so be patient as they work through it.
- Replace plants and trees: Following yard clean-up, you may wish to plant new trees and bushes. To help reduce future problems, make sure the plants being considered are hardy enough for the area. For trees, make sure you know the approximate size and shape of the tree when mature. This will help determine where to plant it to avoid interference with utility lines or branches rubbing against buildings.
- Home Damage: If your home or roof is damaged do your best to cover exposed areas with tarps or plastic. Use proper safety when using ladders or going on the roof. Consider using experts to make repairs. Call them early as schedules will fill up quickly as damage is likely wide spread.