My house is flooded, now what do I do?

The aftermath of a catastrophic flooding is stressful. No one prepares you for what steps you need to take. Suddenly your home, that you have lovingly cared for, has sustained immense damage. What do you do now?

1. Turn off the power to your home at the electrical panel. Water and electricity is not a good combination. Have it inspected before turning back on.

2. Call a water damage restoration company and get on the waiting list. Unfortunately, because there has been so much damage in our area, you may have to wait a bit before they can get to you.

3. Contact your insurance company to see if you have flood insurance. Flood insurance is a separate policy written through the US government. Have a claim started as soon as possible so a time can be set up for the adjuster to come out and inspect.

4. Until then, put on protective clothing, such as rubber boots and gloves before entering your home. Flood water contains contaminants that you may not be able to see.

5. Look for structural damage such as buckled walls or floors, and cracked foundations.

6. Open windows to circulate the air.

7. Take pictures or videos, lots of them, showing the damage to your home before you begin cleanup. Take more pictures during the cleanup showing the progress.

8. If you suspect damage to any water, gas or sewer lines, contact your utility company.

9. Remove any undamaged possessions as well as damaged items that may be salvageable. Mold settles in quickly, so remove them as soon as possible. Throw away all food that has been in the house.

10. Items such as plates, glasses and flatware can be removed and sanitized.

11. Keep track of your time and bills. If you have flood insurance, you may be able to be compensated for that. If you do not have flood insurance, the county has been deemed a disaster area and you may receive compensation from the government. You may also be able to claim the loss on your taxes.

12. Remove water as quickly as possible. You can use a sump pump or wet/dry vacuum. Shovel out as much mud as possible.

13. Once the water and mud are removed, pull up carpeting and padding.

14. Poke holes at floor level to allow water to drain from behind the wallboard. The restoration company will need to see how far the water has traveled up your wallboard, as those sections will need to be cut out and removed to prevent or remove mold.

15. Set up fans and dehumidifiers throughout your house.

16. Wait for things to completely dry out before beginning the restoration process. Remember, that it takes time to completely dry things out.

We continue to see pictures of all the damage to so many in our community, but we have also been privileged to see how our community has rallied around those affected. If you have cleaning supplies to donate, please drop them off at our office and we will distribute them. Thank you for loving your neighbor.

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