If your home has flooded you are no doubt concerned about the long list of tasks ahead. Your very first priority must be safety. Be sure you are not in any danger, and if you are, take steps to relocate. Emergency personnel are available to help if you need them. Should flood waters have risen enough that it is impractical to drive or even walk, get to the highest safe place you can to wait for rescue. A higher floor of your home, or even the roof, will offer more stability than the ground floor or outdoors where flood waters pose further danger. If you need to leave your home and are able to do so safely, be mindful of emergency vehicles and rescue workers; make every effort to stay out of their way and allow them to do their jobs. Tune to a local radio station for instructions on finding emergency shelter or other resources for assistance. If you or a member of your family requires medical attention, seek it immediately.
If you have flood insurance, contact your provider for assistance with filing a claim and prepare to meet with the adjuster. Follow all instructions and keep accurate records of all correspondence, as well as any paperwork you may need for the claims process, as this will expedite processing. If you need help with this, please refer to our post Filing a Flood Insurance Claim Made Easy.
When To Return Home After Flood Damage
Before you return home, make sure it is safe to do so. If you have doubts, ask. You are wiser to wait a day or two than to take the risk that flood waters may rise again and present the chance for injury or illness. Take the time to obtain plenty of fresh water to drink, as it is not likely you will be able to access usable water immediately.
Before entering your home, check to be sure it is structurally sound. Turn off power at the breaker; flood water will conduct electricity and this can pose the risk of shock. If your home is powered by gas, be sure that is shut off as well. If you feel you are in danger, err on the side of caution. Collect any needed items, such as medications or important paperwork that have been left behind, first; keep these in a safe place.
You Have Returned Home After Flood Damage Has Occurred, What Next?
Next, check for water damage and make basic necessary repairs if you are able. You will need to consider whether there is a risk of further flooding before pumping water from your home; check with a professional if you are unsure whether to proceed.
Cleanup efforts will be taxing; remember to get plenty of rest and maintain safety and hygiene. Use rubber gloves and wear protective clothing, as flood waters may be carrying sewage and other contaminants. Wash your hands often and be aware of any signs of illness or injury. If these present, seek treatment as soon as possible. Once you are cleared to return home, you will have a lot of cleaning and repairs to take care of. Do not work at such a pace as to overtire yourself or risk injury. The process will take time; be realistic about what you can accomplish. If you are in doubt about where to start or what to do next, contact a trained water damage restoration professional.