Flooding affects millions of American homes each year. Whether it’s caused by natural disasters, unforeseen accidents or poor home maintenance, flooding is without a doubt a homeowner nightmare. To help you get your home and life back together after a flood, here are a few essential tips.
- Immediately call your insurance agent. Don’t throw out any damaged property until your insurance agent has inspected it.
- Create an inventory of the damaged or lost items and take photos. File the flood insurance claim that includes lists of damaged items, photos, your policy number, name of insurance company, and contact information.
- Avoid direct contact with floodwater, which can most likely be contaminated. If sewage is backing up in the shower or under the toilet, your main sewer line could likely be clogged or broken. In that case, stop using sinks or toilets and call your utility company immediately.
- Check for damage to your home, both outside and inside. Be aware of hazards, such as fallen power lines. Standing water may also be electrically charged from damaged power lines.
- If you suspect damage to utilities, shut them off immediately if safe. Here’s how to shut off utilities safely:
- Water – To shut off all water to your home, first locate the master valve. You can find it in the basement, garage, near the water heater (if you don’t have a basement) or even outside your home.
- Electricity – Locate the main circuit box that’s mounted on a wall, typically in the basement. Ensure it’s safe to enter the basement first and bring a flashlight. Turn off the main switch in the panel to shut off all electricity in your home. If you see frayed electrical wiring or sparks, call the utility company immediately.
- Gas – First, locate the shutoff valve on the riser pipe from the ground to your meter. If your meters are newer, the valve could be on the service line going from your meter into the house. Use your hands or, if needed, an adjustable pipe or crescent-type wrench to close the valve.
- Once you’ve shut off utilities, call local authorities and wait for their approval to turn them back on.
- To help save your flood-damaged home and contents, standing water needs to be removed and the area should be dried immediately.
- Depending on the type of floodwater, the type of contents, and how long they have been soaked, flood-soaked, porous contents like walls, carpet or furniture can be either restored or discarded.
- Salvageable contents must be immediately disinfected and dried to prevent mold growth. Remember, mold can grow within the first 24-48 hours after a flood.
- Flood cleanup is a complicated process that requires specialized knowledge and equipment, such as low-grain refrigerant dehumidifiers and high-capacity air movers. It consists of moisture level reading and monitoring, water extraction, drying, disinfection, and deodorization.
For water damage restoration, your best plan is to hire a professional restoration company that can quickly and efficiently perform the job. Our PuroClean professionals are highly trained in property damage restoration and respond immediately to minimize the impact of the loss. For emergency flood damage restoration, call your local PuroClean office.