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After The Flood: Steps to Recovery

Flooding remains one of the most persistent natural disasters

in the United States and throughout the world, causing billions

of dollars in damage to homes and property each year.

When floodwaters recede, the damage left behind can be

devastating and present many dangers. Visible damage,

however, is only part of the recovery process. What you can’t

see in the aftermath of a flood can be just as dangerous.

Whether a flood is caused by ground water, falling water, or

home water system malfunction, there are some best practices

you’ll need to employ within the first 24 hours after the flood

to ensure the safety of your home and family.

Ensuring Safety Upon Re-Entry

After the flood waters recede, most folks want to get back into

their homes or businesses to begin the cleanup and rebuilding

process. Extreme caution must be taken to avoid further

damage or personal injury. For example:

• You should thoroughly inspect for structural and

electrical damage from the outside to determine if it is

safe to enter. When attempting to re-enter a flooded

structure, always wear sturdy shoes, rubber gloves, and

eye protection. Also, be especially watchful for fire ants,

snakes, or other animals.

• Try to return to your home during daytime hours to avoid

the need for lights. Use battery-powered flashlights and

lanterns rather than candles, gas lanterns, or torches.

• Try to turn off the main power ONLY if the power source

is in a dry location. If there is standing water at or near

the main power switch, call an electrician to turn it off.

NEVER turn power on or off yourself or use an electric

tool or appliance while standing in water.

• Gas leaks are common after a flood. If you smell gas or

suspect a leak, try to safely turn off the main gas valve

and open as many doors and windows as possible. Notify

your local gas company, the police or fire departments or

State Fire Marshal’s office. DO NOT attempt to turn on

lights or do anything that could cause a spark. And don’t

return until you are told it is safe to do so.

• Any home or business that has been flooded and closed

up for several days is going to have mold, which

commonly grows in the stagnant, fetid conditions left in

flooding’s aftermath. Mold is a serious health threat and

should be addressed with the utmost caution. Always use

gloves and breathing filters when inspecting the

premises.

Considerations for Restoring or Rebuilding

Flooding can have long-term implications beyond the visible

water damage. Attempting to rebuild too quickly after a flood

can cause continuing problems such as mold growth, insect

infestations, and deterioration of the wood and wall coverings.

Porous building materials (wood, particle board, etc.) that have

been submerged in water for any length of time have likely

absorbed a large amount of water. These must be removed and

replaced with new materials. All fiberglass insulation should

be tossed out, as should plaster, wallpaper, and upholstered

furniture that have been in contact with flood waters.

Yet first and foremost, before considering any repairs or

restoration, you should contact your insurance company as

soon as possible. An adjuster will be sent to assess the damage,

determine the extent of the coverage for any losses, and advise

you on how to proceed with the clean up and restoration

process. It’s also important to fully document the damage for

your insurer by taking photos or video. If you begin removing

water or making repairs before documenting the damage, you

could potentially decrease the extent of your coverage.

Trust the Experts for Post-Flood Recovery

In the aftermath of a flood, your and your family’s health and

safety needs are of utmost importance. Returning to some

degree of normalcy can be an exhausting process, but following

the proper steps can help expedite matters.

As Columbia’s most experienced water damage specialists,

Sincerely Yours will work with your insurance carrier to make

sure that your home or business is safely dried and restored to

pre-loss condition. Locally owned and operated since 1959,

we’re here to serve you 24 hours a day, seven days a week.