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What to Do the First 24 Hours After A House Floods

What to Do the First 24 Hours After A House Floods

3/15/2019
Restoration

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

Chemicals or sewage may be present in the flood water in your home. Wear waders, hip/waist-high waterproof boots, rubber gloves when entering the house, and remove 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. The easiest way is to send a digital version to the insurance company. Forgetting this step, or doing it after you have started removing water or making repairs, could 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 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 find a company that does quality work and is responsive to its customers.
When your house has experienced flood damage, it’s critical to take quick action to minimize the damage to your home and the contents. Start with this shortlist 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 the 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 possessions and reduce 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 primary circuit turned off so that when electricity returns, 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 to schedule an appointment for an insurance adjuster to survey the damage.

Ensure 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 send via email a summary of what they have told you, so you have it in writing.

Be aware that a typical homeowner’s policy does not cover flooding due to inclement weather. You will need to have a separate flood insurance policy.

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. 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. Discard larger items such as furniture may be too saturated to dry adequately.
  • 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 the 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. Securing the property 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 under repair.

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 remedy the damage to your home and 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 help you through the stress and sadness of losing your belongings and healing through 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, face 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 assess your situation, and give you a detailed estimate for the job.

Customers keep returning 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 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.


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