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Main » Articles » Floods

What to Do After a Flood.

A severe flood can cause tremendous emotional pain, physical hardship, and economic loss. For many flood vicims, it seems like there's no hope. Yet staying calm is key toward recovering from this natural disaster. Once the initial shock has worn off, it's time to assess the damage. Often it’s not as bad as you think. Here's what to do.

If anyone is hurt: Get medical help for anyone who is injured. Be aware that floodwaters are often contaminated. Frequent washing of hands or any other exposed areas will help reduce the risk of infection. If you are bitten by any animal, seek immediate medical attention. Protect yourself from mosquitos with insect repellent.

If your home has been damaged: Play it safe. Just because the water has withdrawn, does not mean it's safe to go in. The foundation may be weakened, the electrical system could have shorted out, there could be a gas leak or a plumbing problem, and floodwaters may have left behind toxins that could make you sick. Get a professional to evaluate the damage. Call the gas company, an electrician, a plumber, or a structural engineer to take a look. Your safety and the safety of your family is always your primary concern.

Disaster relief: If the flood in your area has been declared a federal disaster, a telephone "hotline" will be set up to provide information on public, private, and volunteer programs to help you recover. Don’t be shy about asking for help.

File an insurance claim: Call the agent who handles your flood insurance to file a claim. Once it's been declared safe to re-enter your home, take pictures to facilitate your claim. Be sure to let the insurance company know how to reach you in the event you are unable to stay in your home.

Get organized with a recovery plan: A recovery plan can help you make the most of your time and money by determining what's worth repairing and what isn’t. Start by getting your utilities back up and running. This will make fixing the rest of your home a lot easier.

Cleaning up: Upon re-entering your home, a good rule of thumb to is "when in doubt, throw it out." Don’t risk the health of your family. Throw away any food that has come in contact with floodwaters, even canned goods. Boil any water used for drinking and food preparation until the local authorities declare your water supply to be safe.

Floodwaters leave behind a lot of mud, silt, and other contaminants and debris. Begin the cleanup by drying out your home to prevent the growth of mildew. Next thoroughly clean and disinfect walls and floors. Books, photos, and personal items can be salvaged using restoration techniques.

Prepare for the next flood: Repair and rebuild your home to make improvement that will protect you from damage in case of another flood. If you don't have flood insurance, consider taking out a policy. Chances are if you've been flooded once, it could happen again.

-- Beth Adamo


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Category: Floods | Added by: Andrey-Andreev (27.04.2010)
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