If your house has flooded, you’re probably flooded with questions of what to do and where to go next. In 2019, there was an estimated $3.75 billion of damage contributed to flooded property. It can devastate a family’s financials, house, and life.
It’s often overlooked as a possibility because victims’ homes aren’t in flood-zones. But a lot of flooding isn’t naturally caused. Plumbing and other man-made constructs play a heavy hand in that multi-billion dollar destruction.
During the unfortunate scenario of a flooded house, it’s pertinent you know what to do and act quickly. If you’re not familiar with the protocols, read this guide — it may just keep you afloat.
First, Preventative Measures
This might not be very helpful if your house is currently flooded. However, preventative measures are worth noting.
Each year, you should do an inventory sweep of your house. Take a long video of your belongings and every part of your home. You’ll be able to use this as evidence in a property insurance claim.
Have a plumber and other technicians check your home every 5 to 7 years. Often, things rust or come loose from over-use. It commonly leads to a flooded house caused by plumbing issues.
1. Cut Off the Water Source
The first thing that you should do is cut the source of water off.
If your house has flooded due to natural causes, try defending against the incoming water. Board up the area and lay down sandbags. If you’re able to slow the flow, at all, it can help in the long run.
Perchance that your house was flooded from a burst pipe or other structural issues, turn off the water to your house. Most homes will have a manual switch or valve on the outside of the house; they’re typically near the hose if one’s attached.
2. Turn Off the Breakers!
Bodies of water and electricity are a terrible combination.
Most homes have a failsafe that’ll trip when they’re flooded. But it’s always a good idea to entirely turn off the electricity to your home that’s currently underwater. If that fail safe is corrupted, you and your family are at risk of electrocution.
3. Get Medical Assistance
Call the paramedics when you’re able to.
The rush of water can be very dangerous. It’s an unstoppable force that a lot of people will underestimate.
Treading through water also has its dangers. Flooded houses will have a lot of glass and sharp objects at the bottom of the water. People are prone to getting deep cuts when navigating the house.
You may want to visit the emergency room, as well. Water that has flooded in the house from the sewage line is highly contaminated. You might notice it, but you’ve likely been infected with harmful bacteria.
They’ll give you an antibacterial and, perhaps, an antiviral. Getting this medicine is pertinent for your safety.
4. If You Rent: Call the Landlord
If you’re a tenant in a rented home, you have to let the landlord know that their property has been flooded. It might be a tough call to make, but it has to be done — for legal purposes.
The landlord will likely hold you responsible. But don’t let them walk over you. If proper maintenance wasn’t done, the owner of the home may be to blame.
Investigate thoroughly if you do rent. If need be, consult a lawyer in the future to prevent any fraudulent claims against you.
5. Take Some Snapshots of the Flooded House
Now that you’re safe, it’s time to assess the damages.
The water has likely evaporated or been removed from the house. If not, allow for the completion of its removal. Stagnant water isn’t safe for traversing.
Take pictures, videos, and keep records of everything that the water ruined. Making a list of the water damage is crucial in claiming with your insurance company.
Document the cause of the flood, as well. Let the adjusters know exactly what happened.
It’s vitally important not to lie about what happened when speaking to an insurance adjuster. Tell them the entire truth — at least what you know of it. Failing to do so can be a fraud.
6. Aftermath and Cleaning
When the house is no longer flooded, it’s time to act to save your furniture.
Move everything that needs drying into the lawn to air-dry. If it’s sensitive material and can be sun-damaged, leave it in the shade. Otherwise, allow the sun to dry up the water damage.
It might benefit you to hire a team of cleaners to vacuum the water from your furniture and other porous surfaces. Water trapped in anything will eventually lead to mold. Damage from mold can leave your house uninhabitable.
Clean everything that you can:
- Your clothes
- The bedsheets
- Pillows and their covers
You should clean every item in your house that is made of cloth. This is especially true if it were a plumbing flood. Dangerous bacterium can lurk on clothing and other surfaces for days.
All Dried Up
A flooded house isn’t something a lot of people plan for. Not many know what to do or when they’re struck with disaster. If you’re a victim of a flood, there are some things you should do immediately.
Cut off the water and the electricity — both are crucial preventative measures. Get medical help, even if you don’t think you need it. Document the damages and do some cleanup after the flood.
Has your home unfortunately flooded? Read our other articles on how to deal with home disasters.