Regardless of the initial cause of a flood, a good emergency preparedness plan helps ensure a safe and quick recovery once the flood waters have receded.
Wait Until Its Safe
Practice the same level of caution you exercised during the actual flood event. Continue to listen to radio and TV reports for updates on conditions in your area. Do not return to any flooded areas until you know it is safe to do so.
Avoid areas where there is flood damage and use recommended routes. If standing water is covering the roadway, find an alternate way. Avoid debris, downed trees and power lines.
When You Reach Your Home
Do not enter if the area is still flooded or surrounded with water.
Water may have caused structural damage to your home. Do not enter your home until you have inspected your foundation. If you have gas lines to your home, turn them off at the meter.
Enter cautiously, wearing heavy soled shoes and gloves, and using only flashlights for illumination. Check for damage to your electrical system. If you did not turn the power off before evacuating your home, do so now if you can reach the circuit breaker safely.
Check the inside of your home for damage to walls, doors, flooring and ceilings.
Open windows and doors to air your home out. Remove wet contents from your home immediately. Do not use water from your faucet until you know it is safe to drink. If you must use the water, boil it first.
Assess and Document
Take pictures of any damage to your property or possessions or any indicators of standing water. Maintain a list of any damaged or lost items and, if possible, gather together any receipts or proof of purchase. Contact your insurance company as soon as possible so your claim can be expedited.
Floods and other severe weather can cause more than just minor inconveniences. They can destroy homes, memories and lives. Don’t underestimate the risks of these weather systems and events and make sure you, your family and your home are ready by participating in National Preparedness Month this month.