Carefully executed recovery efforts can provide relief and help you and your family regain some normalcy.
Here are ten tips to keep in mind when recovering from a flood.
1. Take care of yourself and your family. Account for your family members, and ensure everyone has plenty of food, water, and clean, dry clothing. Recovery is stressful, so take time to talk with a friend or health professional about the situation, and encourage your family to do the same.
2. Receive a tetanus shot. Be aware that floodwater is often contaminated, and take precautions when returning to your home. Health officials recommend receiving a tetanus shot before entering flooded areas.
3. Wear protective gear. Protect yourself with long sleeves, sturdy shoes, and plastic or rubber gloves when returning to a flooded area.
4. Check for structural damage before reentering your home. Turn off the gas immediately, and photograph and document the floodwater damage for insurance purposes.
5. Start salvaging items as soon as possible, as mold can invade flooded areas within 48 hours. If you do encounter mold, protect yourself with gloves, goggles, and an N100 face mask, available at most hardware stores.
6. Prioritize your personal safety. Rescue only the most valuable items first, prioritizing your personal safety over salvaging belongings.
7. Discard all perishable food in the house, as floodwaters can foster bacteria
8. Disconnect all power and gas to the home to safely remove large appliances. Often, appliances will be too damaged to salvage and will need to be discarded.
9. Contact your insurance company to file your claim. If you don’t have flood insurance, contact the American Red Cross or local charities for assistance.
10. Regroup. Prepare yourself for future, unexpected flooding by developing both a family emergency evacuation plan and home safety plan.
Further flood recovery resources can be found at fema.gov, American Red Cross, and the Extension Disaster Education Network. If you experience an extended power outage, Briggs & Stratton is available to provide advice about purchasing a portable generator or adding a stand-by generator to your home at briggsandstratton.com.