When your house has experienced flood damage, it’s critical to take quick action to minimize the damage to your house and the contents. Start with this short list to ensure you don’t make any costly mistakes:
Immediate Post-Flood Checklist (details below):
- Check for hazards before entering your home (structural damage, live electrical lines)
- Call insurance company to initiate the claims process;
Schedule for the flood insurance adjuster to come and assess the damage
- Protect your health before entering
- Take pictures and videos of all damage before removing any water
- Call a certified restoration company to begin cleanup as soon as possible
Following the above checklist in the first 24 hours after the flood will ensure you minimize damage to your house and its possessions as well as minimize danger to yourself and other occupants. It also puts you in a position to file for and obtain the best possible insurance coverage of the damage. Let’s discuss each checklist item in detail:
Check for Hazards Before Entering Your Home
Flooded homes can present numerous hazards that can cause serious injury. The Federal Emergency Management Agency instructs homeowners to check for structural damage such as cracked, warped, or loosened foundations. If you suspect damage to water, gas, sewer, or electric lines contact utility companies before entering the home.
As a precaution before entering any flooded home, turn off all water and electrical. Even if you’ve lost power, you want the main circuit turned off so that when power is restored you aren’t in standing water risking electrical shock.
Call Your Insurance Company
Always keep your insurance company’s claim phone number stored in your cell phone so you can easily access it when disaster strikes. Contact them as soon as you realize you have flood damage: there will be a landslide of calls coming in and you want to get your name on the list sooner rather than later. If the local insurance claim number is busy, call the national number in order to schedule an appointment for an insurance adjuster to survey the damage.
Make sure you get clear direction so you know if you have to wait for an adjuster to inspect the property before beginning repairs. Document the names of who you talk to and conversation details at every step of the process. If you can, ask them to email you a summary of what they have told you so you have it in writing.
Be aware that flooding due to inclement weather is not covered under a typical homeowner’s policy, you will need to have a separate flood insurance policy.
The time it will take to complete repairs can range from a week or two to months, depending on the extent of the damage.
Wear Protective Gear When Entering
Flood water in your house could be contaminated with chemicals or sewage. Wear waders or hip/waist high waterproof boots, as well as rubber gloves when entering the house and when removing any water damaged items. FEMA also recommends boiling water until local authorities have time to inspect the water supply and ensure it is safe.
Take Pictures & Videos of the Damage
It is critical to take pictures and videos of all affected areas before removing any water or damaged items. Digital versions are recommended as they are easily sent to the insurance company. Forgetting this step, or doing it after you have started removing water or making repairs, could potentially reduce your coverage.
Cleanup: Make Sure it’s Done RIGHT
The best thing you can do to minimize flood damage is to hire a certified restoration company. Restoration companies will know exactly what to do and have industrial-level equipment (pumps, fans, etc) that do a better job than ones you could rent or buy.
When looking at restoration companies read reviews to try and find a company that does quality work and is responsive to its customers.
While you wait for the remediation company to come:
It may take a few hours, or days, for your remediation company to get to your house, depending on the number of calls they are getting. In the meantime:
- Don’t forget to take your pics/videos before doing the following!
- Rent or buy a sump pump and wet vac and start getting the water out of your house – mold can develop in 24-48 hours of flooding.
- Open doors and windows to allow fresh air to circulate (as long as that doesn’t let in more water)
- Remove wet contents from the house, such as bedding, rugs, carpeting, etc. If it has been wet for under 48 hours, you may be able to dry it out and salvage it. Larger items such as furniture may be too saturated to dry effectively and need to be discarded.
- Control mold growth on surfaces by disinfecting with a 10% bleach solution. Test the solution on a small area of the item you are going to clean to be sure it won’t cause staining or fading.
- Carefully make holes at floor level of wet drywall to allow trapped water to escape.
Secure the Property
If the damage is severe enough, you need to secure the property to prevent further damage. This can include putting boards on broken windows and covering roof damage with tarps.
If your home is uninhabitable, contact your insurance company to see if they cover temporary housing while your house is being repaired.
Find Out if You’re in a Disaster Area
If a region is officially declared a “disaster area” by the government, you may have access to additional resources to help remediate the damage to your home, as well as extra financial assistance. You can contact FEMA directly to inquire or ask your insurance agent.
How do I Find a Remediation Contractor?
A high-quality and legitimate restoration company repairs more than your property. They assist you through the stress and sadness of losing your belongings and help you heal through their compassion, professionalism, communication, and quality workmanship.
Choosing a scam contractor by mistake can result in a 2nd disaster on top of the one you’ve already experienced. Take the time to make sure you choose slowly and carefully so that you can recover from the disaster you have experienced as quickly as possible.
If you, or someone you know, is facing a flooding crisis, call someone you can trust. Absolute Cleaning and Restoration is a local company that cares about its clients. Our trained technicians will quickly respond to your call, visit your property and asses your situation, and give you a detailed estimate for the job.
Customers keep coming back to Absolute Cleaning and Restoration because of the quality service we provide at reasonable prices. Previous clients know that our company truly cares about each of our clients and they continue to recommend us to others. People know we are a locally owned and family run business that will always be here to take care of our customers – give us a call today (662-760-4348) so we can help you recover and move on with your life.