Major disasters that affect your home will likely be some of the most stressful events you'll ever encounter. Floods can be particularly damaging and costly. The initial hours and days following a flood can often be uncertain, especially before you begin working with your insurance company to determine what your policy will cover.
The actions you take following a flood can significantly impact the cost of remediating the damage and the possessions you can save. If you want to minimize the damage to your home and maximize the chance of saving your belongings, do these three things as soon as possible.
1. Assess the Situation
A minor flood may not leave much water on your floors, but major floods will rarely drain quickly. Any standing water remaining in your home can be a major problem and potentially a serious source of danger. Once you can safely approach your home, you should assess the situation from a distance. Avoid stepping in floodwaters unless absolutely necessary.
If you don't see any standing water in your home, you can begin to dry out your house by opening windows and using fans. You will likely still need a professional flood restoration company, but drying damp floors is generally safe. On the other hand, any amount of standing water in your home will require professional attention and likely need heavy extraction equipment such as specialized pumps.
2. Move What You Can
While you should avoid entering floodwater when possible, you should take steps to protect your belongings in unaffected portions of your home. Remove whatever you can in the upper levels of your home or rooms that remain relatively safe from water intrusion. Standing water in your home will drastically increase humidity levels, and mold may form on surfaces in less than 24 hours.
Moving potentially vulnerable items out of your home can help protect them from mold damage, which can be particularly costly to address on clothing or upholstery. At a minimum, take what you and your family may need for an extended stay away from your home. Extracting flood water and repairing flood damage can be a long process, so saving whatever essentials you can is a good idea.
3. Contact a Flood Water Specialist
Water can cause a shocking amount of damage to your home in very little time. The longer standing water remains in your home, the more it will soak into drywall, subflooring, studs, and other critical parts of your house. Leaving standing water in your home for longer than necessary can substantially increase the cost and complexity of remediating the flood damage.
Even if you don't think the problem looks too bad, you should still contact a flood specialist as soon as possible. An expert will be able to evaluate your home, determine the extent of the flooding, and develop a plan for rapid water extraction. A professional company can pump out standing water and dry wet surfaces much more quickly, increasing your chances of saving some or all of your home.
For more info about urgent flood extraction, contact a local professional.