Natural disasters like hurricanes and storms can be a very traumatic experience. A flood is one of the scariest ones because of the amount of damage can cause to your home. Once the first shock has passed and you have made sure everyone is safe and sound, it is time to go into disaster recovery mode. It is very helpful to have a plan in place in the event of a flood. These are the first steps to take if there is a flood in your home:
Check for Potential Threats
Before you enter your home be sure to step back and look for any apparent potential dangers. If there was a heavy flood there could be structural damage to your home. Check for warping or cracks in the foundation. If a storm hit your home, make sure that there is no damage to your roof before entering your home.
Contact Utility Companies
If there is significant damage, particularly to electric or gas lines, it is very important to contact your utility companies and be sure that power and gas is turned off. After you have contacted the power company, it is still a good idea to turn off the main power at the fuse box. Be sure to have a working flashlight, preferably a waterproof one. This should be part of your flood kit.
It is natural to want to immediately start salvaging and repairing your home, but it is very important for insurance purposes to get pictures of your home and your belongings before you start to remove or repair anything that was damaged during the flood. In most cases, a modern cell phone is the best tool for this because you can back up the pictures to a cloud service on the go or you could even start emailing them. However, it is a good idea to have a waterproof camera in your flood kit as well in case the battery of your phone died or was damaged in the flood.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Contacting your insurance agent right away is important because you want to start the claim process as soon as possible. Be sure to document everything that your agent tells you and that happens throughout the process. You will want to know what you can clean up right away and what needs to wait for an insurance adjuster to inspect before you can begin repairs.
Contact a Local Contractor
It’s best to contact a contractor who knows how to deal with flood damage. Let your contractor know all of the details and share with them as much info as you have. This will help them with the clean up and make it easier for them to evaluate a good plan to get things back to normal on your end. Water damage can wreak havoc on your home and belongings, and it is important to watch for mold.
Before you start cleaning up, check with your insurance company. If they give you the OK, begin removing water and drying everything you deem worth salvaging as soon as possible. Use a pump and a water vac, which you can find at a local hardware or home supply store, and begin removing water. Open the doors and windows to let fresh air circulate through the house and help it dry out, as long as you do not risk getting more water in the house. If an item is wet for more than 48 hours you will have the potential of mold. Be sure to wear rubber gloves while you are cleaning so you do not have any direct contact with the mold.
If there is severe damage, you might want to contact a restoration professional. Mold can be very harmful to you and your family. It is not worth risking your health to do it yourself over the cost of hiring a professional. Floods are devastating no matter how much you have prepared, but if you already know the steps to take before the event of a flood, you will be able to handle the crisis and your family will be happy, safe, and healthy.