What to do Before and After a Flood
No location in Texas is risk-free of flooding. Despite this, feel content with knowing that there are many steps you can take to minimize damages to your home and property should you suspect that flooding is imminent. These steps will be important in keeping your family safe and can make it easier when filing a flood insurance claim. Before we get ahead of ourselves, the most important step you can take is to purchase flood insurance.
Imagine this scenario: heavy rains are in the forecast and you live in a low-lying area. The rains arrive with a fury and do not let up. The bad weather continues and waters begin to rise. You want to make sure your family is safe and secure, and the first step is coming up with a family emergency plan. It isn’t uncommon for severe storm-stricken areas to be without power for days on end. Here are a few points on what to do should your community be the brunt of a strong storm:
- Create a flood or severe weather evacuation route and review the itinerary with your family. Keep in mind routes that are on high ground from work, school and home.
- Create a safety kit with enough drinking water (a five-gallon jug or package of 24-32 bottles) and canned foods to last two to three days. This safety kit should also include first aid items like bandages, gauze, burn ointment, rubbing alcohol and cotton swabs. Blankets, a battery-operated radio and a flashlight with extra batteries should also be included. Include a few candles and a lighter as well for safe measure.
- Teach your children how to dial 9-1-1 and preserve other emergency numbers such as those of relatives, neighbors and family friends.
- If possible, stay with a family residing far from the affected area.
- Have a plan to protect your pets. Use blankets to keep them warm along with several days’ worth of canned food.
- Make sure your mobile phone is fully charged before the storm hits and only use it when absolutely necessary.
The next thing you’ll want to do is create a file with information from your insurance provider and keep it in a waterproof container, such as a safe. This container should include:
- A copy of your insurance policies and insurance agent’s contact information.
- An inventory of the household, either written out or recorded on an electronic device. This should include all major appliances and main household items like those stored in the garage, basement or attic. Incorporate serial numbers as well as receipts for all key or expensive articles in your house.
- Car titles, deeds to your home and any medical information should also be kept in this same container.
Getting the House Ready
Preparing your home is the next step when getting ready for an incoming flood. These steps should be taken if you’re absolutely positive floodwater is coming:
- Clear debris from gutters and downspouts.
- Anchor down fuel and propane tanks.
- Place your washer, dryer, water heater, furnace or any other appliances on cinder blocks or bricks to prevent damage.
- Move any furniture, valuables and, of course, important documents to a safe location within the home that’s off of the ground floor if possible.
- If possible, seal all lower level electrical sockets. Turn off the main switch and breaker box to prevent electrical accidents.
- If needed, purchase a pump to remove excess water from your house and cellar.
- Cities usually provide free sandbags to citizens if the chances of flooding are high. Take advantage of this and pick up as many as you can.
During a Flood
Rain is pouring hard and the situation looks grim. You find yourself in the middle of a flood, but here are a few points on how to deal with the situation when things become serious:
- If possible, evacuate to higher ground.
- Do not attempt to drive across flowing streams or flooded roadways.
- According to the Texas Department of Transportation, only six inches of water is all it takes for some vehicles to float. If you encounter a flooded road, find another way.
- Shut off all utilities in the house starting with the breaker box and gas valves.
- If water is rising in your home, evacuate or make your way to the attic, top floor or roof.
- Listen to a battery-operated radio for information.
- If you come into contact with floodwaters, wash your hands with soap and disinfected water.
The Road to Recovery
The waters have receded and the time to clean up has arrived. Here are a few steps to remember before getting everything back in order:
- If your home has suffered any flood damage, call your insurer to file a claim. Make a list of all damaged items with receipts if possible. Check for any structural damage to the home before entering to avoid any potential dangers.
- Take as many photos as you can to properly document any damages.
- Keep power off until an electrician has inspected your residence.
- Do not drink or cook with tap water until it is deemed safe to consume by the city. If you absolutely need to use tap water following a flood, boil it then store it in clean containers.
- Prevent mold by removing wet contents from your house immediately. Wear gloves and boots when cleaning and disinfecting the area to prevent injuring your hands and feet. After everything has dried, monitor the area for several days for odors and fungal growth.
Get Covered Today
Don’t hesitate to get flood insurance. Contact Shepard Walton King today and let us help you find the flood insurance policy that best fits your needs. Bad weather can’t be avoided, but not having a plan afterwards can make the situation worse. Let the insurance agents of Shepard Walton King help you.
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