Picture taken by me in 2005 , cars stacked on top of each other. disaster junk clean up is something that needs to be done on the road to recovery.

Natural disaster clean up, tips from a Hurricane Katrina Volunteer

First of all, let me state this isn’t just a generic post. This post comes dear to my heart.


Easy, in 2005 along with a task force of soldiers from the 1/184 Infantry and other California National Guard units we formed Task Force California. Our job was to provide humanitarian aid, security and search and rescue in the NOLA area of operations.

Sept 2005

No, lie there we were in a muggy classroom in New Orleans Louisiana. We began staging equipment and trucks in a school vacant school we commandeered.


A dirty stew flooded the city of New Orleans

Another thing, in addition to the human loss and loss of property there was the huge environmental toll.

Just imagine a soup containing sewage, cars, houses, refrigerators, coffins even cadavers no doubt it wasn’t a pretty situation.

Refrigerators probably leaking freon everywhere, garbage piled up under bridges, the amount of trash was massive.

Of course from there came the idea to start this whole thing.

Picture taken by me in 2005 , cars stacked on top of each other. disaster junk clean up is something that needs to be done on the road to recovery.

Not only were there uprooted trees everywhere but boats floated away freely, cars were even stacked on top of one another.

Luckily once the waters receded the clean up began, a bit of light in the tunnel.

cleaning up a school after the natural disaster that was hurricane katrina.
Cleaning up a school in the Algiers Parish of New Orleans in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina

After a disaster comes the clean up

In addition to being able to help folks in need the experience gave me some direct insight into cleaning up after a disaster zone.


Tips to help you through clean up after a natural disaster.



Without a doubt a catastrophic event and something we can’t ignore, especially if you are local to the San Francisco Bay area.

Debris from an earthquake consists of rubble from fallen buildings and structures. Without a doubt junk and inventory from store shelves will have to be cleaned up and disposed of.

When it comes to fallen concrete and dense materials you will need to call a hauler to haul away those types of materials.

However if you are in the San Francisco bay we can help you with such task.

You can also rent a box from us and do it yourself in the event an event like this happens.


Once a flood hits it’s catastrophic, why? In addition to displacing people a flood ruins almost everything it touches.

Carpet, drywall and upholstery furniture and electronics ruined.

In addition toxic mold makes it hazardous to even work in such environment.

Certainly floods are deceiving, initially it seems like property can be salvaged but the contamination from flood waters will render many things useless and even dangerous to handle.

Expect to rent a debris box or hire a hauler to help you clear the property. However in cases of light flooding this may not be the case.

Ruined electronics

First of all electronic waste needs to be recycled appropriately. It can be unsafe to attempt to salvage electronics as electronics, water, and wall sockets don’t mix well.

Strip the ruined drywall

Second of all you wan’t to strip all the drywall if it came in contact with water.

Chalk it up as a loss and continue living your life to the best of my ability is my best advice.

Of course it sure as heck beats being electrocuted trying to salvage a water logged electronic devices.


Important to note, fires have the ability to leave you with absolutely nothing but ash. For example fires are so powerful recently in California fires burned so hot they melted metallic parts of cars.

For example take the the neighborhood of Coffey Park in Santa Rosa California. Devastation every where, whole blocks of neighborhoods were reduced to ashes.

Pro Tip:

It’s always best to prepare for a fire by clearing the land around your property to create a fire break.

For example keep handy all phone numbers of professionals who can assist after a natural disaster.

Keep numbers of haulers and debris box rental companies, this can help you save money by contracting them directly as opposed to through a contractor who will charge you a premium.

Mud slides

In cases of small mud slides from your backyard hill for example, you definitely need to employ a professional who will move your earth manually.

Another option is using dirt moving equipment or bulldozer to push the dirt back before a qualified contractor can employ the use of a retaining wall.

Surprisingly the price of moving and transporting soil can be expensive due to the sheer weight of soil.

A vehicle burns significantly more fuel when loaded with a lot of weight.

Manually remove dirt when equipment access is not available for dirt removal.

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