A flood can be a downright terrifying thing to experience, especially if you’ve never experienced one in the past. If your residence or commercial property has flood damage, time is of the absolute essence. Following a flood, immediately taking the steps below can help ensure that you deal with it most efficiently, keeping overwhelming stress at bay.
Here are the 8 steps you should take immediately following a flood:
- Carefully Assess for Possible Hazards or Dangers
Upon returning to your home after a flood, before even taking a single step inside, careful assessment of the property is extremely necessary.
If the main control panel was not turned off before the flooding, you might want to consider having a qualified electrician first declare the home safe for re-entrance. However, on the chance that this is not possible or you elect to do it yourself, The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends that before entering, you check for any visible structural damage such as foundational cracks, holes, potentially dangerous debris, any types of warping, and so forth.
Once you have determined it is safe enough to enter the home if your switchboard was not turned off before the flood, use a flashlight to access it and turn off all water and electrical sources. This will help prevent any serious harm in the case that the power is reactivated and water becomes mixed with electricity.
Additionally, if there is no chance that water can continue to get into the home, go ahead and open doors and windows to allow fresh air to circulate.
- Protect Yourself and Your Family
Despite what the water in your home looks like, sewage or household chemicals could have contaminated it. Upon coming into contact with it, be sure to wear waders, waist-high waterproof boots, and rubber gloves to avoid contaminants.
Also, throw away any food that could have come into contact with the floodwater. FEMA advises homeowners to boil water until authorities declare the water supply to be safe.
- Document Everything You Can
Before removing water or altering the state of your home in any way, thoroughly document any and all damage to your insurer by taking photos and videos. If you begin to repair any damage or remove water before documenting everything, you could potentially decrease the amount of compensation you will receive.
- Call Your Insurance Company
After a flood, you should notify your insurer as soon as possible. Explain to your insurance representative the extent of the damage done to your home and any repairs you plan to make straight away. In some cases, you may be advised to wait for an adjuster to inspect your home before you make any repairs. Continuously document the damage and conversations at every stage of the process.
- Secure the Property
As the homeowner, it is your responsibility to secure your home so that the chance of further damage is reduced as much as possible. Board up broken windows and cover any exposed roofing with a tarp. Document this to show your insurance company that you did everything in your power to prevent any more damage.
- Thoroughly Remove ALL Floodwater
Some people may choose to do the cleanup themselves. This does, however, involve several purchases including gloves, masks, protective gear, pails, mops, squeegees, large containers, extension cords, submersible pumps, wet/dry shop vacuums, carbon monoxide sensors, dehumidifiers, fans, heaters, and the list goes on.
Increasingly, people are opting to have a professional service take care of this part of the process to save them time, money, and the inevitable stress of handling the cleanup alone.
A popular choice among flood-affected homeowners has become All Dry USA. If you have water damage in your home, it may be wise to consider their services, as this company provides water damage services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and their expert team of technicians will arrive at your home quickly after you have made the call.
Most people who have used this company enjoy the fact that they assess the damage and dry out moisture of any kind immediately upon discovery. (There are some companies that will not do this, as less experienced crews will tear down wet walls and ceilings to save time and aggravation.)
Additionally, All Dry USA utilizes state-of-the-art equipment to remove moisture from homes. By combining fans and dehumidifiers, it is sometimes possible to bring any room to its pre-flood state.
- Move Back In, But First…
Once the floodwaters have been dried and cleaned, you must still be sure the following items to be met:
- Regular water supply is declared safe by officials
- Every room affected is thoroughly sanitized and disinfected
- Toilet facilities are in place
Floods can certainly wreak havoc on homes and cause all kinds of overwhelming stress, but if dealt with properly and the right resources utilized, the process can be a lot less complex, and your life can return to normal in a more timely fashion.