Flood Restoration Process: What to Do in First 24 Hours After a Flood
After flood waters subside, document, work with your insurer, and clean up safely.
Whether flood disaster is caused by ground water, falling water, or home water system malfunction. There are some best practices you’ll need to employ within the first 24 hours after the flood happened. The earlier the better. Of course, fast reaction helps to ensure the safety of your home and family and give you the best outcome possible with your insurance company. So, don’t wait and start flood restoration process right now!
Avoid Additional Risks
If the flood was serious enough for you to leave your home, be sure you stay safe upon your return. First of all, you should check for any visible structural damage, such as warping, loosened or cracked foundation elements, cracks, and holes before come back to your home. Never wait to contact to utility companies if you suspect damage to water, gas, electric, and sewer lines. The electrical sources should be turned off. It is important.
Before you remove any water or make any repairs, fully document the damage for your insurer by taking photos or video. It is better to have a digital version, because they can be stored electronically and easily copied or sent. If you start removing water or making repairs before you photograph the damage, you could potentially decrease the extent of your coverage. This is the first and important step for flood restoration process.
Protect Your Health
Even if the water in your home is clean, it could be mixed with sewage or household chemicals. It is recommended to protect yourself by wearing waders, hip- or waist-high waterproof boots. In addition to this, you should wear rubber gloves to remove water-damaged possessions and to avoid contaminants. You need to throw out any food that may have come into contact with flood waters.
Call Your Insurance Company
You should inform your insurer as soon as possible after the flood. That’s why you need to keep your insurance company and local agent’s phone number in your always-ready emergency bag. Be sure to follow the insurance company’s direction about inspecting your property before making repairs. It is very important. Document the damage and conversations at every stage of the process.
What can you expect in terms of time to get back to normal? It could take about one week if the claim and clean up is minimal to five to six months if you’re working with an insurance adjustor and contractor to complete extensive repairs.
Find Out if You are in a Disaster Area
This advice is good only for big water disasters. If the region you live in has been officially declared a disaster area by government authorities, property owners have access to increased resources, including public services to protect and remediate the area. In addition, you may have access to financial assistance. And this point means much! Your insurance company will have additional information on this or you can contact FEMA directly.
Once you get the OK from your insurer to start removing water. If you want, you can buy or rent special equipment to do cleaning fast. Thus, you may need a sump pump, available from most hardware or home supply stores for $150 to $500, and a wet vac for $40 to $130. You must be careful not to injure yourself, especially if you’re carrying boxes, buckets and different interior items up and down stairs. You can also call for professional team to have the flood restoration process done well and safe.
Mold is the biggest disaster. It can develop within 24 to 48 hours of a flood. That’s why it is important to remove wet contents, including carpeting and bedding, as soon as possible. If an item has been wet for less than 48 hours, it may be salvageable. Important: notify your insurance company before removing items to ensure that you’re not affecting coverage. Always photograph the flood-soaked items.
Thus, rugs may be dried and then cleaned professionally, which could cost $100 to $500 or more, depending on the size and number. Large pieces of furniture that are saturated will likely be difficult to dry effectively, and should often be discarded. If you want to get your money back, you need to controle the process of cleaning from the very beginning.
Cleaning your area on your own, you need to keep many rules. Mold growth can be controlled on surfaces by cleaning with a non-ammonia detergent or pine oil cleaner and disinfecting with a 10% bleach solution. Caution: Never mix ammonia and bleach products, as the resulting fumes can be highly toxic. Always test this solution on a small area of the item or area you’re cleaning to be sure it doesn’t cause staining or fading. Never forget to take photographs before removing wet wallboards and baseboards because insurers will want to see the height of any water damage to walls. Carefully poke holes at floor level in the drywall to allow water trapped behind it to escape.
Lot of work! Your desire to hire a flood restoration service is absolutely natural! Just find their contacts in the internet or in your local phone book. Look for those with Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification.
Your responsibility as the homeowner is to secure the property so that no additional damage occurs. The first rule, it the house isn’t habitable, don’t try to stay there for long. Hurry up! Move to a shelter or alternate location all together with your family. Consult your insurer to find out what provisions the company will make for temporary housing while your home is being repaired. If the home is habitable, take precautions to keep yourself and your family safe from injury. Use flashlights to move around dark rooms, for example. Don’t try to manage the flood restoration process without any help if water disaster is massive.