Floods are the most occurring natural disaster in the United States, causing billions of dollars in damage to homes, businesses and their contents such as: carpet, furniture, upholstery, electronics, household appliances, and plumbing equipment. Flooding can result from rain, snow, coastal storms, and storm surges. If developed quickly, it can become a flash flood without any warning.
If water is not cleaned up properly and completely, it’s easy for mold to start growing as soon as 24 hours after the flood. Flood waters are not usually clean water; therefore, most building materials must be removed soon after the flood is over. The problem is that wood and other porous materials have likely absorbed a large amount of water. Rebuilding too quickly after a flood can cause continuing problems such as mold growth, insect infestations, and deterioration of the building materials and wall coverings, like drywall.
When the flood waters recede, some people want to get back into their homes or businesses and start rebuilding. Water damage restoration can help homeowners and businesses in the clean-up process. Recovering from a flood can be stressful for most people; however, knowing what to do after the flood waters have receded can relieve some of that anxiety.
5 Tips for Recovering from a Flood
Here are 5 critical steps to follow after a flood has occurred.
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1. Wait for Authorities
Do not return to the flooded premises until authorities have advised it is safe to do so. There may be hidden damage in some homes and businesses. Your presence might also interfere with rescue and other emergency operations. You could put yourself and others at further risk from the effects of floods, such as contaminated waters, crumbled roads, and other hazards. Continue to listen to a Weather Radio or local radio stations to stay informed of any flood-related issues within your community.
2. Avoid Additional Risks
Even when officially cleared to do so, use caution when returning to your home or business after a flood. The Federal Emergency Management Agency warns that you should check for any visible structural damage, such as warping, loosened or cracked foundation elements, cracks, and holes before entering your home.
Make sure that all electrical and gas systems remain turned off until it’s safe to turn them back on. If you suspect damage to water, gas, electric, and sewer lines, contact the appropriate utility companies immediately. Health risks can be avoided by wearing protective clothing. Be on the lookout for snakes and other animals; flood waters flush these animals out of their habitats.
3. Call Your Insurance Company
You should notify your insurance company as soon as possible after the flood so they can begin the claims process. Insurers will want to see the height of any water damage to walls. Record details of flood damage to the building and its contents by photograph or video, if possible.
Not only should you document the flood damage, but the conversations at every stage of the claims process. Be sure to follow the insurance company's direction about whether to wait for an adjuster to inspect the property before starting on any repairs.
4. Cleaning & Salvage
You will need to remove standing water by using pumps or pails; then use a wet/dry shop vacuum to mop up the rest. Other flood cleaning equipment should include:
Masks and other protective gear
Pails, mops and squeegees
Plastic garbage bags
Wet/Dry shop vacuum
If an item has been wet for less than 48 hours, it may be salvageable. Frames of high-quality furniture can often be saved. However, they must first be cleaned, disinfected and rinsed, then dried by ventilation away from direct sunlight or heat. Drying too quickly can cause warping and cracking.
5. Check for Mold Damage
Mold can develop within 24 hours after a flood. After that time, mold will grow rapidly; hence the importance of removing of wet contents immediately. Damage from mold growth can cause serious health issues.
Mold growth can be controlled on surfaces by cleaning with a non-ammonia detergent or pine oil cleaner and disinfecting with a 10% bleach solution. Or you may also wish to hire a professional flood restoration service like St. Louis Cleaning and Restoration.
A Professional Water Restoration Company Can Help!
Hiring a water damage restoration company like St. Louis Cleaning and Restoration can make the cleanup process easier to handle. We offer 24-hour emergency service to address critical issues such as flood and mold damage. We will also work with your insurance company in the claims and remediation process.
When you need an expert in flood water damage and restoration, contact St. Louis Cleaning and Restoration.