With the hurricane season in full swing, knowing how to prepare for a flood and what to do during and after a flooding event matters more than ever. Major storms and hurricanes can wreak havoc on flood-prone areas. Your ability to anticipate flooding inside the house and make sufficient preparations can help you get things back to normal after the disaster.
How To Prepare for a Flood
It’s never pleasant to hear warnings about possible flooding in your area, but proceeding calmly following these tips can help minimize the losses you may incur and keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
Understand Your Flood Risk
Before anything else, check the Flood Map Service Center to determine if you live, work, or travel in areas prone to flooding. It also helps to learn the exact flooding types that may impact your community. Common types of flooding include flash floods, storm surges, coastal floods, river floods, debris flow, and snowmelt, among others.
Get Flood Insurance
Standard homeowner’s policies generally does not cover flood damage. As such, it’s best to consider buying flood insurance as an add-on to your existing insurance or a standalone policy.
You may also consider taking this opportunity to check in with your agent and review your homeowner policy’s coverage.
Take a Household Inventory
Take pictures and videos of your valuables, from appliances, furniture, and other major household items to your personal belongings. Keep a record of your possessions and store them in a secure place, as this inventory will be helpful should the need to file an insurance claim arise.
Store Important Documents
Besides your household inventory, keep essential documents like birth certificates, passports, titles, and insurance papers in a watertight safety deposit box.
Elevate or Move Your Furniture
In cases of predicted or imminent flooding, act quickly and move your furniture and other valuables to a safer location, like the attic or the highest floor in your home.
What Should You Do During a Flood?
One crucial thing to remember during a flooding event is that water levels and flow rates can change and create a dangerous situation within seconds. Here are some safety measures you and everyone in the household should keep in mind:
- Obey orders to evacuate immediately.
- If you are staying at home, practice electrical safety at all times. Never touch or use electrical outlets or appliances that floodwaters have reached.
- If trapped in a building, move to the highest level to avoid the water. However, do not seek shelter in a closed room to avoid getting trapped by rising flood water.
- Get on the roof to signal for help if it is safe to do so.
As much as possible, avoid walking through floodwater. Besides containing household, medical, and industrial hazardous waste, its strong currents may also carry glass shards, metal fragments, and other sharp objects that can cause injury and lead to infections.
With that said, it’s also not safe to drive into flooded roadways or bridges. Floodwater may be deeper than it looks and can conceal eroded road surfaces, sharp objects, and other hazards. Fast-moving waters can sweep away vehicles within seconds.
It only takes six inches of water to knock you off your feet, 12 inches to float a small SUV, and 18 inches to carry a large vehicle. So, what should you do during a flood? For your and your loved ones’ safety, it’s best to stay safe and dry where you are until the waters have receded.
What To Do After Your House Floods
If floodwaters have turned your home upside down, it’s only natural to want to begin the cleanup as soon as possible. However, damage from a major flooding event can make properties unstable.
Here are some safety reminders worth noting to get your flood damage recovery project started on the right track:
- Watch out for electrocution risks. Never touch wet electrical equipment or handle electronic devices if you are standing in water.
- Keep vulnerable individuals safe. Buildings affected by a flood may already harbor mold and other harmful substances, so it’s best to arrange accommodations for children and people with health conditions while the cleanup and restoration work is in progress.
- Always wear protective equipment when working inside your house. A flood-damaged building contains health and safety hazards. Wear rubber boots, gloves, and an N95 mask to protect yourself from injuries or infections.
With those fundamental pointers out of the way, here’s a quick step-by-step guide on what to do after your house floods:
1. Document Everything
Before cleaning up the mess, take photos and videos of all the damage caused by the flood. This may be heartbreaking, but taking sufficient documentation is crucial in processing your insurance claim.
2. Get Everything Out of the House
Mold can grow in a damp environment within 72 hours, so it’s crucial that you begin drying the house immediately. One thing that can help with this is taking everything the floodwater reached out of your home. Doing this helps prevent sources of moisture from lingering inside the house, therefore speeding up the drying process.
However, this is also when you may have to make the difficult decision of choosing which items to save and which to discard. Solid wood furniture removed from the water quickly may still be saved, but carpets and rugs soaked in floodwater must sadly be thrown away.
3. Clean and Disinfect Flooded Areas
With everything out of the way, hose down solid surfaces with clean water to wash away dirt, mud, and other debris the flood brought in. Once everything is dry, disinfect all surfaces to kill germs and bacteria and deodorize the space.
You Also Have the Option of Getting Help From the Experts
Cleaning up after flooding inside the house is not a small task. As someone who has experienced a traumatic and stressful experience, you may not have the capacity to sort through the mess and do everything that needs to be done as efficiently as possible.
When your flood recovery project becomes too overwhelming to handle alone, take comfort in the fact that professional cleanup and restoration services are available. When you seek the help of experienced experts, you allow yourself to focus on the well-being of yourself and your loved ones. Ultimately, you harness their expertise to get your home back to normal in no time.
Let a Local Restoration 1 Team Help You Recover After a Flood
Restoration 1 is a nationwide network of certified and experienced restoration professionals ready to help you get back up after a flood. Our local teams are equipped with tried-and-tested know-how and professional equipment to resolve your flood damage, clean and disinfect all flooded areas, and return your home to its pre-water condition.
Best of all, assess and address your home’s moisture situation and dry the entire building thoroughly to prevent mold.
With us as your go-to experts, you won’t have to face a water disaster alone. Call your nearest Restoration 1 team 24/7 to get the help you need when it matters the most.