Here in Florida we are no strangers to flooding. Still, sometimes these events can completely catch us off guard. Once the initial shock of a flood wears off, your next concern may be to ensure the safety of not just yourself but your family and loved ones. Floods can cause a myriad of dangerous situations, so ensuring the well-being of those around you in the aftermath is essential.
When weather conditions start to deteriorate in your area, the best thing to do is stay informed. Pay close attention to weather updates and warnings from your local authorities, especially regarding street closures. Twelve inches of water may not sound like much, but it has the power to float a car. Stay off the streets unless it is absolutely necessary. One of the most common situations people face during a storm is getting stuck in flood waters when they try to drive through them. Many times it is hard to judge how deep a pool of water is just by looking at it. The best thing to do is stay off the roads.
That being said, if you absolutely have to leave your home, keep an eye out for things like:
- Broken glass and other objects
- Downed power lines
- Damaged sidewalks and other walkways
- Water contaminated by sewage or dangerous chemicals
If you come across flood waters, it is best to stay away from that area. Should you try to drive through a flooded street and your car stalls, leave your car as quickly as possible and get to higher ground.
If you decide to stay home and your house starts flooding, turn off all sources of water and electricity. This includes water hoses, sprinkler systems, lamps, and televisions. Stay away from power outlets, fuse boxes, and any appliances that may get wet. Once the disaster is over and the water recedes, have a licensed, professional electrician inspect your home for safety.
Document Your Damages
Once everyone is out of harm’s way, it is important to document any damage that has occurred. Some ways to do that include taking pictures and writing down as many details as you can about your property. Any damage, big or small, should be documented so that you can file an accurate claim with your insurance agent if necessary.
Things to look out for when assessing damages to your home include: warping, cracks, gaps, or buckling in the floor, walls, ceiling, or foundation. Also make sure that all the doors and windows open and shut properly. If you suspect any damage to your electric, water, sewer, or gas lines, contact your utility company as quickly as possible.
Clean Up Process
After a flood, standing water needs to be removed immediately. Water can cause structural damage to your home and furniture, as well as create the perfect conditions for mold. Pails, water pumps, and wet/dry vacuums are excellent tools to have on hand during the clean-up process. Always wear protective gear such as gloves and face masks, especially if you use chemicals such as bleach, which is great for cleaning surfaces and prevents mold from developing.
If there is any chance that something was contaminated by sewage, the best thing to do is get rid of it. This could include anything like bedding, food items, upholstered furniture, and carpeting. Contact a professional if there is anything in your home you are uncomfortable or unable to handle.
Contact your insurance agent right away after a flood. They can help you start the claim process and will advise you of anything you should do before you start cleaning up. Keep in mind, when flooding occurs only flood insurance will cover the damages to your home. If you need more information about flood insurance, contact one of our agents today.