Floods can be sudden, scary, dangerous, and devastating to property. However, with the proper precautions, you can limit the damage to your home or business.
There are important steps for homeowners to take before, during, and after a flood to help minimize the damage. As experts in the industry since 1948, we know how important preparation is before the event of a flood caused by natural disasters such as tropical storms, hurricanes, and heavy rain.
Before a Flood Strikes: How to Prepare
To start, be sure to obtain an insurance policy that covers flood damage. Don’t just assume your home insurance covers it; it might not.
Make a list of everything valuable inside your home or business, and photograph those items. This will be very helpful if you need to file a flood damage claim because you will have evidence already prepared to show your insurance company.
Additionally, buy a few security boxes. Use them to store cash and important papers like birth certificates and legal documents. You could also include sentimental items like report cards or the birthday cards your children made for you.
Home maintenance is key to flood preparation. For example, cleaning your downspouts and gutters regularly helps water flow through these systems efficiently and directs the flow of water away from your property.
Elevate your water heater and furnace by placing them on concrete blocks.
Seal the walls of your basement to prevent water intrusion. If you have a sump pump, contact an expert for regular inspections and maintenance. Another useful tool you may want to look into getting installed is a basement water alarm. This system detects water leaks that you might not be aware of.
Add backflow valves to your sewer pipes. Those valves will keep sewage and dirty water from going inside your home when it floods.
Also crucial, sit down with your family to make an escape plan. Figure out which escape route you will take in the event of an evacuation, which car you’ll take, and where you’ll stay until you can return. Map out your designated meeting spot in case of the unfortunate event that you and your family get separated when searching for higher ground.
Put together an emergency kit to have on hand that includes:
- A few gallons of water per person
- Three days’ worth of nonperishable food per person
- Sanitizers and toiletries
- A battery-powered radio
- Extra batteries
- A flashlight
- First-aid supplies
- Things to keep you occupied such as puzzles and books
What to Do During A Flood
When weather forecasters predict a flood or major storm in your area, spring into action right away.
If your utilities provider says to do so, turn off your electricity, gas, and water.
Try to raise sensitive equipment off of the floor, including propane tanks, electrical wires, and electrical panels.
Similarly, carry downstairs furniture and valuables upstairs — into the attic if possible. Make sure to bring outdoor furniture indoors.
Always follow the news throughout a flood, and keep an eye on any emergency alerts. If the authorities tell you to evacuate, take the order seriously, and rely on your escape plan. Don’t forget to bring your emergency kit with you!
If a flash flood hits your neighborhood, get out immediately. Don’t wait for official instructions to leave. Also, as you drive away, be careful to avoid flooded spots as much as possible.
What To Do After A Flood
After a flood, stay away from your home until the authorities have deemed the area safe. And always follow all guidelines as you make your way back.
Don’t drive on flooded roads, and stay away from standing water, which may contain hazardous materials. Likewise, if a building is surrounded by water, don’t go inside.
Once you’re back home, avoid the water supply until you get an alert saying it’s OK to drink it.
Get your septic tank repaired right away.
Clean your home thoroughly. Every affected surface and item must be disinfected.
Take plenty of pictures of the damage, including closeups of items that were destroyed. This will help greatly during the insurance claims process.
Assess the damage in your home and consider hiring a flood and storm damage restoration company to help make sure the area has been effectively cleaned and fully restored. After a flood, our team can remove water and humidity, make repairs, salvage various items, recover documents, and disinfect HVAC machinery, among other services.
Unfortunately, after a flood, it’s almost impossible for the average homeowner to fully get rid of all the water and moisture inside a home by themselves. The presence of water inside your walls and in other places can lead to all sorts of problems, including the spread of bacteria, mold growth, structural damage, warped wood, and odor.