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HELP A FRIEND – AFTER THE ONDOY FLOOD CLEANING TIPS

If you liked the last article about his thoughts and lessons from someone who had his room flooded – chest high, then you’re going to need to read his next article too…

HELP A FRIEND – AFTER THE ONDOY FLOOD CLEANING TIPS

by Fritz Gerald Ong Chan

The flood in my basement is pretty minor compared to the other people who had their house flooded by Typhoon Ondoy. Even so, it took me at least 10 hours and 2 additional helpers to clean my 35 square meter basement (drying and cleaning of personal things not included).

Now imagine your friends who had their whole house flooded. It would probably take AT LEAST 30 hours to clean the whole house with just 3 people (not counting the roof). After all the rescue operations and provision of relief goods, the victims (particularly your friends) of the flood will still need help in fixing their house before they could start anew.

Everyone could give a helping hand either through money, physical things (clothes, food and water), or manpower. If you want to help a friend by cleaning their house, below are some pointers and thoughts that I’ve learned in my own experience:

ASKING FOR HELP
– Friends who had their house flooded are less inclined to tell you that they need help. These are my Top 3 reasons they won’t ask for help:
o They are just plain shy (a common Filipino trait)
o They haven’t realized that they need help (Maybe due to shock and panic)
o They simply don’t need help (Ang lupet mehn!)

SAFETY PRECAUTIONS
– Make sure that the house is structurally sound. When in doubt, ask your friendly civil engineer.
– Make sure that the circuit breakers are turned off (particularly the ones for the electric sockets). You run the risk of getting electrocuted.
– Always wear protective gear such as rubber gloves

WHY THEY NEED TO HAVE A CLEAN AND DRY HOUSE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
– For health reasons. (no need to explain)
– To avoid insect and rodent infestation (lamok, ipis and other stuff) which could lead to various sicknesses (Dengue mehn!)
– To have HOPE. Have you ever smelled a flooded house? It could either smell like fish, garbage, poop, mud or all of the above hehe Having a decent smell makes a lot of difference.

ESSENTIAL ITEMS FOR CLEANING
– Mop
– Rags (Dirty towels are better)
– Rubber Gloves (trust me on this)
– Zonrox (for cleaning)
– Lysol (for cleaning and odor)
– The infamous Walis Tingting (did I even spell it right?)
– Baygon
– Scrub
– Garbage Bags
– Balde a.k.a. Pail, Bucket
– Water hose (preferably pressurized)
– Hair dryer
– Dust pan
– Shovel (optional for mud and skudge)
– Food and Water
– A VERY LONG EXTENSION CORD (optional)
– Electric Fan (optional)
– Screwdrivers, pliers and hammer (you may need it to remove the damaged cabinets, drawers, etc.)

CLEANING STRATEGY
– Clean section by section. Preferably start with the upper floors and work your way down. For the ground floor start with the room farthest to the exit and work your way out.
– Do the Buddy System.
– Remove things that you obviously won’t be able to fix (such as drawers, cabinets, etc.)

CLEANING PROCESS (AFTER SAFETY PRECAUTIONS)
Note: this process is done section by section.

1. Clear the Area of Furniture, Sludge, Mud and other things.

o Move the furniture to a near section that you will clean later on (e.g. if you are cleaning the masters room 2nd floor then move it to the room beside it). It’s not practical to move things to a far out location.
o Remove the sludge and mud with a water hose (preferably with pressure), shovel and scrub.
o It is advisable to wear rubber boots (you can also wear booties as a substitute) if there is mud/sludge.
o It is better to wear slippers than shoes.

2. Scrub it Clean (Zonrox with detergent)

a. Use rubber gloves at all times. The cleansing mix could be quite irritating.

b. For people who easily get allergies, be prepared to have medicine.

c. Mix water and zonrox on a bucket. This serves as your cleansing mix. Additional tip: you might want to add fabric powder detergent (e.g. Tide) so it would have a more appealing and bearable scent.

d. Use a scrub – self explanatory.

3. Rinse and Dry it Off (give it a washy massage)

a. Rinse the section with water hose and rags.

b. Remove pools of water with walis-tingting, mops, dustpan and rags. From my experience, walis-tingting and rags/towels work best.

c. You can only use an electric fan when only a small amount of water is left.

4. Disinfect the section with Lysol when the area is dry.

5. Give it Spray Baygon after 30 minutes to an hour.

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