When the storm has passed, and you must face the damage that has occurred to your home, try to stay positive. Keeping your wits about you will help you immediately get to work on what needs to be done in order to recover from this disaster. Give thanks that you are still alive, and then start to consider what needs to be done so that your environment does not damage your health.
If your home flooded, the waters have left behind a lot of harmful bacteria, and the air is probably not healthy to breath.
- So, first OPEN THE WINDOWS to get some fresh air moving around your house.
- If you have air vents below the water level, remove the filters.
- If you have lined up help to remove your wet drywall, place that call before you get busy doing other things.
- Turn your power back on after consulting an electrician.
- Consult your HV/AC company to find out if there is anything special you need to do before you turn on your air conditioning.
- Don’t sign any contracts under duress at this time. First, check with your neighbors to see what they are paying for remediation services. The next chapter will give you more specifics.
- Get all wet belongings and furniture out of the house as fast as you can. The “muck out” must happen within the first two or three days after floodwaters recede in order to prevent mold from growing in your walls. Utilize whatever helpers are available to get things cleared out, and worry about sorting things out later. So that they can work quickly, the drywall removers will want a lot of space.
If you have flood insurance, you will most likely be reimbursed for the drywall removal. If you can find someone to hire immediately, make sure they are not going to price-gouge you. In our area, the average cost for tear-out, drying and mold prevention is around $5,000 for a house with lower-level square footage under 2,000. Information on mold prevention is contained in the tear-out section of the following chapter.
- If you haven’t already called your flood insurance company to initiate a claim, do it as soon as you can. Remember, your flood insurance may be through a different company than your homeowners, so calling your homeowners insurance company may not be the proper way to file your claim. The adjusters will be extremely busy, so you want to get in the queue to get the process started. You should also file a claim with FEMA if you need help with immediate expenses.
If there are any damages to your home that were not caused by rising floodwaters, call your homeowners insurance agent to file a claim if the cost for damages will be higher than your deductible. If you lost a vehicle, the only insurance help you will likely be getting is from your comprehensive coverage on your auto, but only if you have chosen to carry that coverage. For more tips, see Chapter 4 of Flood Survival – The Complete Guide on What to do Before, During, and After a Flood.