FLOOD – WHAT TO DO NOW??


Well Before the Flood — INSURE!

Loses due to flooding are not covered under homeowners insurance policies, but homes and their contents can be protected through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) if your community is a participant in the program. Flood insurance is available in participating communities on almost any enclosed building- including homes, condominiums, manufactured homes on foundations, businesses and farms.  The contents of insurable buildings, including rental units, are also insurable.

Compile and maintain a room-by-room inventory of the insured contents- including, when possible, receipts or proofs of purchase (especially for major appliances) noting the manufacturer’s name, serial number, model number, price, date and place of purchase.

Immediately Before the Flood — PREPARE!

If, and ONLY if time permits, turn off all utilities at the main power switch and
close the main gas valve if evacuation appears necessary.  Do not touch any electrical
equipment unless it is in a dry area and you are standing on a piece of dry wood while
wearing rubber gloves and rubber-soled boots or shoes.  Move valuable papers, furs,
jewelry, clothing, and other contents to upper floors or higher elevations.  Fill bathtubs,
sinks and jugs with clean water
in case regular supplies are contaminated.  These
containers can be sanitized first by rinsing with bleach.  Board up windows or protect them
with storm shutters or tape to prevent flying glass.  Bring outdoor possessions inside the
house
or tie them down securely- this includes lawn furniture, garbage cans, tools, signs,
and other moveable objects that might be swept away or hurled about.

When the Flood Comes — EVACUATE!

Since floodwaters can rise very rapidly, be prepared to evacuate before the water level
reaches your property.  Keep battery-powered radios tuned to a local station, and
follow all emergency instructions.  If you are caught in the house by suddenly rising waters,
move to an upper floor if possible or to the roof if necessary.  Take warm clothing, a
flashlight and portable radio with you.  Then wait for help- don’t try to swim to safety.
Rescue teams will be looking for you.

When outside the house, remember floods are deceptive.  Try to avoid flooded areas
and don’t attempt to walk through floodwaters that are more than knee deep.

If it is safe to evacuate by car, stock the car with nonperishable foods (like canned
goods), a plastic container of water, blankets, first aid kit, flashlights, dry clothing and any
special medications needed by members of your family or group.  Keep the gas tank at
least half full since gasoline pumps will not be working if the electricity has been cut off.
Do not drive where water is over the road — parts of the road may already be washed
out.  If your car stalls in the flooded area, abandon it as soon as possible. Floodwaters
can rise rapidly and sweep a car (and its occupants) away.  Many deaths have resulted
from attempts to move stalled vehicles.

After the Flood — CLEAN UP!

If your home, apartment or business has suffered flood damage, immediately call the
agent or broker who handles your flood insurance policy; the agent will submit a Notice of
Loss Form to the National Flood Insurance Program.  An adjuster will be assigned to
inspect your property as soon as possible.  Be sure to take pictures of the damage
done to your building and its contents, before you start to clean up.

Check buildings for structural damage prior to entering — make sure they are not
in danger of collapsing.  Turn off any outside gas lines at the meter or tank if you
didn’t have time to before the flood and let the building air for several minutes to remove
foul odors or escaping gas.  Upon entering the building, do not use open flame as a source
of light since gas may still be trapped inside – a nonmetallic, fully sealed flashlight is ideal.
Watch for electrical shorts or live wires before making certain that the main power
switch is turned off.  Do not turn on any lights or appliances until an electrician has
checked the system for short circuits.  Cover broken windows and holes in the roof or
walls to prevent further weather damage.  The expense of these temporary repairs is
usually covered under your flood insurance policy (subject to the policy deductible).  It is
important, therefore, to save receipts.

Proceed with immediate cleanup measures to prevent any health hazards.  Perishable
items which pose a health problem should be listed and photographed before discarding.
Throw out fresh food and previously opened medicines that have come in contact
with floodwaters
. Until the public water system is declared safe, water should be boiled
vigorously for ten minutes before it is used for drinking or food preparation.  The flat taste
can be removed by pouring the water from one container to another by adding a pinch of
salt.  Another method of disinfecting drinking water is to mix 1/2 teaspoon of liquid
commercial laundry bleach with 2 – 1/2 gallons of water- let stand for five minutes before
using.  If no other source is available, water may be obtained by draining a hot water tank
or my melting ice cubes.

Refrigerators, stoves and other hard goods should be hosed off and kept for the
adjuster’s inspection.  A good deodorizer when cleaning major kitchen appliances is to add
one teaspoon of baking soda to a quart of water.  Any partially damaged items should be
dried and aired- the adjuster will make recommendations as to their repair or disposal.
Take all wooden furniture outdoors but keep it out of direct sunlight to prevent
warping —
a garage or carport is a good place for drying.  Remove drawers and other
moving parts as soon as possible, but do not pry open swollen drawers from the front –
remove the backing and push the drawers out.

Shovel out mud while it is still moist to give walls and floors a chance to dry.  Once
plastered walls have dried, brush off loose dirt.  Wash with mild soap solution and rinse with
clean water; always start at the bottom and work up – ceilings are done last!  Special
attention should be paid to cleaning out heating and plumbing systems.

Mildew can be removed from dry wood with a solution of 4 to 6 tablespoons of
trisodium phosphate (TSP), 1 cup liquid chlorine bleach, and 1 gallon of water.  Clean
metal at once then wipe with a cloth.  A light coat of oil will prevent iron from rusting.
Scour all utensils, and if necessary, use fine steel wool on unpolished surfaces.  Aluminum
may be brightened by scrubbing with a solution of vinegar, cream of tartar, and hot water.

Quickly separate all laundry items to avoid running colors.  Clothing and household
fabrics should be allowed to dry slowly
, away from direct heat, before brushing off loose
dirt.  If you cannot get to a professional cleaner, rinse the items in lukewarm water to
remove lodged soil; then wash with mild detergent; rinse and dry in sunlight.

Flooded basements should be drained and cleaned as soon as possible.  However,
structural damage can occur by pumping out the water too quickly.  After the floodwaters
around your property have subsided, begin draining the basement in stages, about 1/3 of the
water volume each day.

After the Flood — PROCESSING YOUR CLAIM!

To reiterate, first call your local insurance agent to report the flood damage so that the
Notice of Loss Form can be submitted to the NFIP and an adjuster can be assigned to
assist you.  Then photograph the premises both the outside to show the flooding and the
damage and the inside to show the height of the floodwaters and the damaged property.

Next, separate the damaged from the undamaged personal property and put it in the best
possible order for the adjuster’s examination.  If reasonably possible, protect the structure
and contents from further damage.  Damaged property which presents a health hazard or
which may hamper local clean-up operations should be disposed of in accordance with
instructions from local authorities.  Be sure to adequately describe discarded items so that
when the adjuster examines your losses and your records, these articles are included in the
documentation.  When the adjuster visits your property, let him/her know if you need an
advance or partial payment of loss.  Good records can assist the NFIP in giving you an
advanced payment.  Good records also speed up settlement of your claim.  Use your
inventory to work with the adjuster in presenting your claim.

This information was compiled from several different sources as I do not claim to be an expert on Floods.

In light of the fact that we have friends and family that may be affected and for all of those who have already been affected, I hope this information can help. God Bless.. D


 

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