After a Flood
After a Flood
by sch43yt9824huilb

After a Flood

  • The danger caused by floods isn’t over when the water recedes, so don’t attempt to return home until authorities say it’s safe to do so.
  • If your car has been submerged, let it dry out thoroughly before trying to start it.
  • Use battery-powered flashlights or lanterns to examine the premises. Do not attempt to turn the lights on until you are sure it is safe to do so.
  • Watch out for snakes that may have come into your home with flood waters. Use a stick to poke through debris.
  • Pump water gradually from flooded basements to avoid structural damage.
  • Shovel out mud while it is still moist.
  • Raise wall-to-wall carpeting to allow air to circulate through it.
  • When plaster walls have dried, brush off loose dirt. Wash with a mild soap solution and rinse with clean water.
  • Clean out heating and plumbing systems.
  • To prevent metal objects from rusting, clean immediately, wipe with a kerosene-soaked cloth and apply a light coat of oil.
  • Allow clothing and household fabrics to dry before brushing off loose dirt.
  • Boil any water you use for drinking or food preparation until the water supply is declared safe.
  • Throw out any food or medicine that has come in contact with flood waters.
  • Take wooden furniture outside to dry, but keep it out of direct sun-light to prevent warping.
  • Before the house is aired out, scrub all woodwork and floors with a stiff brush.

Saving Family Photos

Often when people are interviewed after a major disaster, they express profound sorrow over the loss of family photos. Houses and everything inside them can usually be replaced but photos, which contain years of memories and family history, cannot. These tips may help you preserve your water-damaged photos.

  • Most prints, negatives and slides can be air-dried. Put the image or picture side face up and avoid touching the front surface.
  • Hang items on a clothesline, using wooden or other non-abrasive clothespins or use a fan to circulate the air. If using a fan, do not aim it directly at the photos.
  • For a framed photo, place the frame glass-side down and remove backing materials. Remove the photo and air-dry it. If the photo is stuck to the glass, don’t remove it. Keeping the glass side down, try to dry the frame with the photo inside.
  • If photos are covered with mud or dirt and are still wet, they may be gently rinsed in clean, cold water.
  • If negatives are stuck together or if your photos are badly damaged, consult with a photographic conservator at your local museum or historical society.
  • Consider keeping digital copies of all photos outside your home, perhaps in safety deposit box or at the home of a trusted family member or friend.

Valuable Contacts:

SAFETY:

  • If you have evacuated, wait until authorities tell you it’s safe before returning home.
  • Be alert for tornadoes, which are not unusual after a hurricane with certain weather conditions.
  • Stay away from flood waters.
  • Use battery-powered flashlights or lanterns to examine the premises. Do not attempt to turn the lights on until you are sure it is safe to do so.
  • Sniff for gas leaks. If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve, open windows and evacuate. If you have any concerns, have the gas system checked by a professional.
  • Do not touch wires or outlets; Check for frayed cords and for cracked or broken prongs and plugs.
  • Turn off the main electrical circuit switch. Be careful to stand on a dry surface and do not touch the metal handle of the switch box. Use a piece of heavy rubber, plastic or a piece of dry wood to open the metal door and throw the switch. Share your concerns with a licensed electrician.
  • If your home has been flooded, check for animals that may have entered the property.
  • If your car has been submerged, let it dry out thoroughly before trying to start it.

CLEANING UP:

  • Before you start cleaning up debris, prepare an inventory of all damaged or destroyed personal property. If you can, videotape or photograph the damage.
  • Make temporary repairs to prevent further damage.
  • Clean up any flammable or poisonous materials that may have been spilled.
  • Pump water gradually from flooded basements to avoid structural damage.
  • Shovel out mud while it is still moist.
  • Clean out heating and plumbing systems.
  • Boil any water you use for drinking or food preparation until the water supply is declared safe.
  • Throw out any food or medicine that has come in contact with flood waters.
  • Take wooden furniture outside to dry, but keep it out of direct sun-light to prevent warping

CLAIM PROCESS:

  • Hold off on permanent repairs until you’ve received approval for reimbursement.
  • Save remnants of damaged or destroyed property for your insurance company adjuster, and do not sign agreements with contractors or anyone else until you have a chance to meet with your insurance adjuster.
  • Keep a written record of everyone you talk to about your insurance claim, including the date of the conversation and a summary of what was said.
  • Keep all receipts and take photos.
  • Your pre-disaster home inventory will be of great assistance to you at this point. After you’ve examined everything and determined the extent of damage, call your independent insurance agent as soon as possible to file a claim.