Floods and hurricanes can wreak havoc on your home and disrupt your entire life. In addition to the stress of an unstable living situation and filing your insurance claims, you may have to confront the pain of seeing valuables and family heirlooms damaged by the incident. Of course, you will want to make every effort to save these items and restore them to their original condition, but you may be wondering whether it is safe to do so. 

The answer to this question depends on the severity of the water damage and whether there is still standing water. It may be risky to attempt to salvage water-damaged items, but the following tips can help you do so as safely as possible. 

Be careful on property

You should always be exceedingly careful as you re-enter the site of the flood. If there is any standing water, you should wear protective boots and ensure that you do not come into direct contact with it. According to FEMA, you should also turn off utilities as you are entering a flooded property, and be sure to look before you take a step so that you do not walk on any potentially dangerous debris.

Check for mold and mildew

Once you have located the items you wish to salvage, you should check for any mold or mildew growth. This can appear as quickly as 48 hours after a flood, and it is potentially dangerous to touch or inhale. Be sure to carefully inspect every item you intend to salvage to ensure it does not have any growth -- and if it does, set it aside for sanitizing before attempting to salvage it.

Use protective equipment

In addition to wearing protective boots, you should wear protection everywhere else on your body that may be vulnerable. Because you will likely be handling items that have been in contact with contaminated water, you should wear protective gloves, too. This can help you handle such items safely and minimize the risk of mold and mildew. If your insurance policy covered your damaged items under the circumstances, you should be able to file a claim for any unsalvageable property.

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