Flooding can be extremely destructive, costly and harmful to your health – even after the water is gone. While floods can be the result of severe weather, sustained rain, broken dams, or melting snow, the most common reason is plumbing failures, according to SafeWise.com. If your home floods, follow these steps.
If flooding is due to severe weather, evacuate immediately. Head to a secure location such as a nearby storm shelter.
If the water is coming from a burst pipe, shut off the main water valve and turn off the electricity. If you can't get to the circuit breaker without walking through water, call an electrician instead.
Call your insurer. Explain the situation and ask if you need to wait for an adjuster to look at the damage before you begin cleaning up.
Once it's safe to return to your home, take photos and videos to document the damage. Salvage your personal items, pump out the water, and throw away or disinfect anything that got wet.
Consider this advice from RedCross.org.
Don't walk through floodwaters – six inches of fast-flowing water can knock you off your feet.
Watch out for snakes, insects and other animals that could be lurking in floodwaters near your home.
When cleaning up, wear waterproof boots and rubber gloves.
After a natural disaster, don't use tap water for drinking, cooking or showering until local authorities declare that it's safe.
Toss out food and medicine that came in contact with floodwaters.
Don't use gas or electrical appliances that were flooded until they're inspected by a professional.
Black mold can have long-term health effects. Throw away items that absorb water and can't be disinfected including mattresses, carpeting, stuffed animals, and cosmetics.
By the Numbers: The Case for Flood Insurance Standard homeowners insurance doesn't typically cover floods. When deciding whether or not to invest in flood insurance, consider these stats from FloodSmart.gov.
1 inch of water can cause $25,000 worth of damage.
Mildew and mold develop within 24-48 hours of water exposure.
Over 20% of flood claims occur outside of high-risk flood zones.