If you are a family about to leave for a vacation, you probably worry about your house being robbed or vandalized. Imagine this scenario: You return home following vacation to find your house is completely flooded. What do you do now? Which steps should you take following flood damage? What are the risks to your family’s health and safety?
There are several different ways a flood can happen. It may be caused by rain, ground water, or a broken pipe. No matter the cause, there are several steps you should take immediately and within the first 24 hours to ensure the best possible outcome for your home, wallet, and the health of your family.
Observe and Identify Flood Damage and Safety Concerns
In the case of a flood, there are a few steps you should take before entering your home or starting the cleanup process. First, check for any structural damage, such as cracks in the walls or foundation and warping of floors or walls.
You should also be very aware of your surroundings and use your senses. Do you smell gas? That could point to a gas leak. Can you hear electricity buzzing? There might be exposed wires. Can you spot a pipe leaking? If you notice any of these, contact your utility company immediately.
Don Protective Clothing and a Mask
After you have assessed the flood damage and identified any potential hazards, it’s time for some protective clothing. Wear rubber boots, rubber gloves, and a mask. Even if you believe the water is safe and looks clear, there is still a strong chance that sewage has entered, along with dangerous chemicals and bacteria from standing, stagnant water. Do your best to not allow the flood water to come in contact with your skin.
Take Pictures and Document All Damage
Before you start cleanup and even attempt to drain the flood water, pull out your cellphone or camera. Document all the damage you can see. Walk around your home while taking a video recording. Take pictures of everything, even if you think it’s insignificant. If you wait to record the flood damage until after you drain the water and clean up, you risk decreasing your potential payout from your insurance company.
Call Your Insurance Company
It’s a good idea to save your insurance company‘s phone number as a contact in your phone in case of any emergency. Keep in mind that your insurance company will have both a local office and a regional or national headquarter. If your area has been affected by flood, there is a good chance your local agent is extremely busy dealing with other customers. Call the headquarters to receive quicker service.
Let your insurance agent know the state your home is in and about any repairs you intend to take on immediately. They will then advise you if it’s okay to start on repairs or if you have to wait for an adjuster to inspect your home.
Seek Safe Accommodation
Even if the flood damage to your home is minimal, there is a good chance you will have to stay out of your home for a few days during the cleanup process and repairs. Contact local family members or friends who were unaffected by the flood or book a hotel nearby.
Call a Local Flood Damage Specialist
Once you have the word from your insurance company, it’s time to call your restoration company. You will have a sense of what will be covered and what won’t. And your flood damage restoration company can usually be onsite the same day.
AZ Floodmasters is the leading restoration company in Arizona, and we have extensive experience helping homeowners following floods and disasters. Put our number in your phone—602-726-9759—now so you have it ready when disaster strikes.