Protect your family by understanding what flood cleanup actions to take after a flood—and by knowing how to prepare for the possibility of a flood.1
After a catastrophe like a flood, there's a temptation to rush in and try to get things back to normal as quickly as possible. But floods often bring damage that isn't immediately obvious. So take these important steps to protect your family and your property.
- Never consume food that has come in contact with flood waters.
- Beware of fire hazards such as broken gas lines, flooded electrical circuits and flammable or explosive materials coming from upstream.
- Flood waters may sweep poisonous snakes into your home. When walking through your home, wear thick shoes and be alert.
- Inspect your home for damage, especially for cracks in foundations.
- Water may have weakened walls and ceilings. Be on the lookout for falling walls and plaster.
Also make sure your entire family understands your community's various flood watches and warnings.
- Flood watches are issued when rain is heavy enough to cause rivers to overflow.
- Flood warnings describe the severity of the situation and indicate when and where the flood will begin.
- Flash flood warnings are issued when flooding is occurring suddenly. In the event of flash flooding, move immediately to high ground.
- Educate yourself and your family about your community's flood warnings.
Floods and other catastrophes have an unfortunate tendency to bring out scam artists and other dubious opportunists. Before you sign repair contracts or have work started, it can be a good idea to talk with your insurance agent. And while contractors may pressure you, don't let yourself be rushed into making a repair decision.
- Keep all receipts done for work on your property.
- Notify your insurance agent or company representative as soon as possible. If you have vacated the premises, make sure your representative knows where to contact you.
- Take pictures of damaged property and keep notes. Use pictures and inventory lists to help your insurance agent and adjuster assess the damages.
- Don't be rushed into signing repair contracts. Deal with reputable contractors. If you're unsure about a contractor's credentials, contact your claims adjuster, Better Business Bureau or Chamber of Commerce for referrals. Make sure the contractor you hire is experienced in repair work - not just new construction. Be sure of payment terms and consult your agent or adjuster before you sign any contracts.