Flood Recovery 101: How To Recover After A Flood In Your Home Or Basement
Floods from burst pipes or other plumbing emergencies are scary enough, but floods from a natural disaster are even more terrifying and can be far more dangerous. This is why it is so important to listen to emergency personnel and local authorities in the case of a natural disaster. Stay clear of your home until it is safe to go back in and always obey fire, police and rescue personnel.
If your home or basement has been affected by a flood of any sort, it is important to know the proper water repair steps to take afterward to minimize the danger to your family and also damage to your home. Flood water that is not properly cleaned up can lead to illness, mold growth and structural issues. (Read more about how home mold growth happens.)
Avoid Flood Danger
First and foremost, avoid the dangers of flood water by staying out of the flooded area unless it is deemed safe to enter. Often times flood water contains harmful contaminants like oil, gas, sewage and toxic chemicals. Downed power lines or home electrical damage can also cause current to move through the water undetected by the human eye. The risk of electrical shock or death is a serious one that many people forget about when confronted with flood water, but it is a very real danger. Also, depending on the severity of the flood, structural damage can even lead to home collapse. For these reasons, you should not enter your home until a flood recovery professional has inspected the scene and deemed it safe to do so. Even after this point, care must be taken when entering flooded areas, as the water is often dirty and can hide debris, broken belongings and even animals.
You should always turn your power off at the main box (even if the power is out) to avoid serious electrical hazards. The power should be left off until an electrician has inspected the home to ensure that it is safe to turn back on. Again, the risk of electrocution is very high after a flood. Furthermore, the risk for a home fire is very high after as flood as well because wires in the walls may have been damaged by the water.
Similarly, leaking septic tanks can pose a serious health hazard and should be inspected by a professional to determine if any repair is needed. This is an important step to take early on in the process because if a damaged septic tank or sewer system is left unrepaired, the cleanup steps that you take later on may be undermined by a persistent waste problem.
Assess the Flood Water Damage
Once you are allowed in, assess the damage to your home and belongings so that you have information to provide to your insurance company. Knowing which rooms or which floors were affected, what types of belongings had been located in each area and what the condition looks like now can help get your insurance company started with the water repair claims process.
Many times the flood water damage is not fully understood by the home owner, but flood recovery specialists can help to shed some light on what the true extent of the damage actually is. They are used to dealing with flood damage so they can estimate the repair costs for a homeowner and worth with them every step of the way. They will do a water pump out and remove any remaining mud and then begin the water repair tasks to put your home back together.
Flood Damage Clean Up
Once you have filed your claim and are working with a water repair company, you will have to start your own cleanup process – looking for lost belongings, throwing out items that are damaged beyond repair and trying to salvage furniture and items that are not too badly damaged. This can be a very emotional process but is important when it comes to properly cleaning up the space and moving on mentally.
Anything that is wet and capable of growing mold should be removed immediately to aid the flood cleanup team in their efforts. Mold growth can be very dangerous for your family and pets because it can spread quickly and cause significant respiratory issues. Always wear gloves while removing and cleaning items. Then clean everything with pine-oil cleaner and bleach solutions to eliminate mold and fungal risk later on. If mold and/or fungus is discovered on any of the items that you have cleaned, throw them away and replace them with new items.
File an Insurance Claim
Filing your claim is the first step to making sure that you get as much assistance as you can through your insurance company. They will review your claim and let you know what will be covered, who they recommend and which portions you will be responsible for yourself. Providing the value of damaged or ruined items along with original receipts and photographs (where possible) will be helpful when filing your claim and may be required by your insurance company for reimbursement.
Remember that while your insurance company may have a recommendation, they cannot require that you use a certain emergency restoration company for your repairs. Shop around and be sure that you find a reputable restoration company you feel comfortable working with because they will be in your home doing the flood water repairs for the duration of the project. You can and should check their testimonials or references to ensure that they are trustworthy and industry certified.
Local or federal assistance may be provided as well if many homes in your area were affected. Be sure to listen to the radio and speak with local personnel to find out if any of these resources exist in your specific case.
For information on how USA Water and Fire Restoration can help with your water pump out and flood restoration, call 1-800-501-3046 today!
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