After the Rains Have Gone…. Flood Damage – What to do?
- Return home or back to your business only after authorities advise it is safe to do so.
- Beware of downed or loose power lines. Report them immediately to the power company, police or fire department.
- Drive only if absolutely necessary. Avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges.
- Check for structural damage before re-entering your home. Do NOT go in if there is a chance the building will collapse.
- Enter your home with caution.
- Beware of animals driven to higher ground by floodwater.
- Beware of sharp objects that may have moved.
- Do not use candles or open flames indoors. Use a flashlight to inspect the damage.
Call your insurance broker who handles your flood insurance and file a claim as soon as you possibly can. When you make the call, try and have the following information with you:
- The name of your insurance company
- Your policy number
- A telephone number/e-mail address where you can be reached.
Take photos of any water in the house and damaged personal property. If you need to place these items outside the home try not to discard them until your adjuster sees them. They will want evidence of the damage and damaged items to prepare your repair estimate. If you need to discard the item be sure to take photos and cut swatches of damaged materials like rugs and upholstery that has been damaged.
There are a number of things to be aware of when clearing up after a flood;
– Flood water can contain sewage, chemicals and animal waste. Always wear:
waterproof outerwear, including gloves;
– wellington boots;
– face mask.
- If your electricity supply is not already switched off at the mains, get a qualified person to do this. DO NOT touch sources of electricity when standing in flood water.
- If you have gas or oil central heating and it has been checked by an engineer, turn it on. Keep the thermostat between 20-22 degrees centigrade for steady drying.
- You can get water out of your property using a pump and generator. Position the generator outside in the open air as generators produce carbon monoxide fumes that can kill.
- Only pump out water when flood levels outside your property start to be lower than inside. This reduces the risk of structural damage.
Shovel mud away evenly from both sides of a wall. This stops pressure building up on one side.
- You can clean and disinfect your property using ordinary household products.
- A garden hose is useful for washing down. Do not use high-pressure hoses as they blast contaminated matter into the air.
- If you are drying your property naturally, keep doors and windows open as much as possible. If using dehumidifiers, close external doors and windows.
- Local councils usually provide skips and extra rubbish collections for items that your insurance company has agreed you can throw away.
- Seek medical attention immediately if you become unwell during or after the clean up process.
This is general advice and not specific to one client or circumstance. Whenever possible gain the advice or your own insurance broker, insurance company or loss adjuster.