Floods and Your Home: Before and After
Floods are a homeowner's nightmare, as floodwaters can cause major damage to any house. Although you may not be able to stop a flood from happening, you can take certain steps to mitigate the damage beforehand. You also need to know how to respond appropriately after the water recedes. This article examines both of these important aspects of home flooding.
Before the Flood
If you have advance warning that your house is in the potential path of an oncoming flood, then it is time to safeguard your belongings. If possible, put your furniture and other personal property in a storage unit that is not in the flood's path. If moving your belongings to a safer place is not practical, move the furniture and other items to an attic or a second story.
Gather all of your important documents, such as birth certificates and insurance information, and place them in a secure location in the home. You should be ready to take them with you if the authorities advise you to evacuate your house quickly. If you need to evacuate, you do not want to waste time looking for all of your important papers.
If you are certain that your home is in the path of an oncoming flood, one way to mitigate the damage from floodwaters is to place plastic tarp and sandbags around the exterior of the house. Place the plastic tarp as high on the house as you expect the floodwaters to reach.
Arrange the sandbags so that they are directly in the path of the floodwaters. Do not place sandbags around the entire exterior because doing so could prevent floodwaters from flowing away from your house.
Another good idea is to turn off all utilities to the house, such as electricity, gas, and water, as long as you are sure that you can do so safely. Make sure that all electrical devices in the home are unplugged before you leave the house as well.
After the Flood
Once the floodwaters have receded, wait for local authorities to tell you that it's safe to return to your home. When you get back to the house, turn off the utilities, if this has not already been done. Avoid turning off the electricity, however, if you must stand in water to do so. Throw out any food items that have come into contact with floodwaters.
Take pictures or videos of the damage so that everything is fully documented for insurance purposes. If repairs are made before you fully document the damage, your insurance compensation might be affected.
Look for mold growth. If you find large amounts of mold, you need to contact a professional water damage restoration company to resolve the issue.
You will also need a professional to help you dry out the house. Water damage experts have access to special equipment to dry out flooded homes that is not available to the typical homeowner.
Rugs subjected to water damage can often be salvaged with a professional cleaning. As for carpeting, if it was saturated by the floodwaters, it should be replaced. Whether or not any drywall or large furniture items affected by the flooding should be replaced is best determined by a professional.
A flood is a devastating event in the life of any homeowner, and you should not try to deal with the situation by yourself. Let the trained and experienced water damage restoration team at SERVPRO of Oswego County help you return your home to its previous status. Contact us for more information about water damage repair, and we will answer all of your questions. We look forward to speaking with you.