Floods are unfortunately a natural occurrence that cause more than $7 billion in property damage each year. They are the biggest natural disaster in the United States and on top of structural damage, they cause up to 150 or more deaths annually. If you have had to deal with a home or business flooding, you already know the painstaking steps it can take to repair the damage caused by a flood. Many people lose everything they own due to flooding.
While damage from flooding can be catastrophic, there are a few steps that homeowners can take to help be prepared before a flood and to deal with the flood as it happens and even to recover after the damage is done. Whether you live in an area that is prone to flooding or you may have a home with leaky pipes, be sure to keep this information handy to help you prepare for a flood, keep yourself and other safe during a flood and effectively get things cleaned and working again when the flood is over.
- Insurance: If you have homeowner’s insurance, chances are that it does not include flood insurance. This is something you need to purchase separately from your homeowner’s insurance policy.
- Block the path: Building a levee or a flood wall around your property can help block water from reaching your home in the event of a flood.
- Electrical Systems: Your electrical system should be higher than 12 inches or more above flood elevation.
- Dry Proof: areas that are below the level of flooding should be dry proofed before a flood hits. This means that waterproof sealant should be used on windows and put over doorways to help prevent water from getting in. Sandbagging doors and windows before the flood waters arrive can also help deter water from entering a home. For best results, don’t wait until the last minute to try to buy sealant or sandbags. If you have a dry space to store these items, start buying them a little at a time to build up your supply.
During the Flood
- Don’t panic: Panic can lead to poor decision making and if your home is flooding, you need to stay calm and be able to think coherently.
- Watch the news: Stay tuned to your local news for updated information on which path a storm is taking or where water is beginning to rise. Keep extra batteries on hand so you can listen to the news on a radio if your television goes out. Make sure mobile devices are fully charged ahead of time and do not use them unless it is urgent.
- Stay away from the water. Many people are tempted to try to outrun a flood or drive through rising water to evacuate an area. Do not attempt to outrun a flood. Mother nature tends to arrive with a vengeance and will take anyone or anything in her path. Not only do you risk your own life if your car is swept away in flood water, but you also risk the lives of others who may try to save you.
- Move up high. When you are in your home and water continues to rise, move to a higher floor, or if you don’t have a higher floor, head to the roof and wait for help. Due to electrical wiring, staying inside when water is rising inside the home can be deadly.
After the Flood
When a flood is over, it’s time to check the damage to your home and see what, if anything, can be salvaged or repaired. For many people, a flood causes devastation and a will be a complete loss. In instances such as this, it is going to be up to the insurance company to replace or repair the damage. For others, there may be damage that can be repaired.
- Check the home. Be very careful when you go back inside your home after a flood. If water is still present and has not gone down, stay away until the water recedes. Once you can enter, be on the lookout for snakes, rats and other animals as they will often be present in a home that has flooded. You also need to check for signs of gas leaks, foundation damage, electrical damage or power lines or chemical leaks in or near the home.
- Dry the home. Mold and mildew can set up quickly if given the right circumstances. Mold only needs a little wetness, warmth and time to grow and can start growing within a mere 24 hours. Remove all wet items from the home and put them outside where they can dry and have plenty of space to ventilate so mold won’t have a chance to start growing.
- Call a Plumber. Many people only think of a plumber when a pipe busts or a faucet won’t stop leaking. There are many plumbing companies who can come out after a major flood and help extract water from the home while also repairing other damage to pipes and sewage.
Once the water is all cleared up, use a de-humidifier in the home for a few weeks to help ensure none is left behind. An air purifier is also a good idea to help prevent mold growth and to keep the air clean for your family to breathe after a flood has been through your area.
If you have experienced a flood and have damage to your home, be sure to contact Anytime Plumbers to have your home inspected by a licensed plumber to ensure there is no damage to your water lines, pipes or other plumbing material in your home. For fast service and estimates for work needed, you can call 831-212-3188.