Your flood damage cleanup checklist
Following a natural disaster resulting in flooding, homeowners should take immediate precautions to protect their personal safety. As soon as possible, all pets and children should be moved to a safe, dry location. Because floodwaters often contain infectious organisms like E. coli, salmonella and shigella, practicing good hygiene is crucial. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends regular handwashing with soap and clean water.
Before you start removing personal items from standing water, you should put on waterproof clothes, safety goggles and waterproof gloves to help prevent possible health issues. Once you’re prepped and ready to go, follow these flood damage cleanup tips published by the EPA:
1. Contact your insurance representative
Always reach out to your insurance company first to discuss your situation and see if there are resources available to help. Even if a loss is not covered, they may be able to help connect you with companies that provide flood damage cleanup, specifically a restoration service that specializes in water damage.
2. Make sure your home is structurally sound
Prior to your flood damage cleanup, it’s important to have your home inspected for signs of structural damage that may pose a risk to your safety. This includes any severe-looking damage to your drywall, hardwood floors, support beams, staircases or foundation. It’s also important to have the integrity of your HVAC equipment checked to ensure it’s not leaking or turned on. All electrical should be switched off before you set foot in standing water to prevent possible electrocution.
3. Remove waterlogged items from flooded areas
The next step is to remove any personal items that have been sitting in water. While some of your belongings can be cleaned, you should throw out any property - waterlogged furniture, electronics, books, etc. - that can’t be completely restored. Before tossing them out, you should photograph and log any personal property that may be covered under your home insurance policy. When in doubt, call your insurance agent for a second opinion. Salvageable property should be moved to a dry area before you start removing water from your basement or lower floors. If your basement is fully submerged, however, you’ll likely need to drain the water first.
4. Dry out your home
After you’ve removed your personal belongings, the EPA recommends opening all windows and doors to allow your home to ventilate naturally. Using a wet vacuum, fans and dehumidifiers can also speed up the flood damage cleanup process, as they will help clear wet rooms of excess moisture. Homeowners should focus on cleaning up pools of standing water first, then move onto damp surfaces. It’s crucial to avoid mixing cleaners and instead use a simple solution of water and germ-killing detergent.
5. Create a repair checklist
Now that your home is starting to dry out and your personal items are safely stored away, the next step is to create a detailed checklist of things that need to be repaired or restored. Keeping an inventory of damaged or lost property is also crucial, as it will help you file an accurate claim against your flood insurance. The EPA recommends focusing on repairs that are vital to your home’s structural integrity or the safety of its occupants.
To learn more about flood insurance or water damage restoration, you can contact our representatives at 800-242-6422. We’ll help you get the coverage you need to protect against floods, natural disasters and other sources of water damage.
The information in this article was obtained from a source or sources that are not associated with Amica. The information is reliable and accurate to the best of our knowledge.