When floods occur, they are among the most dangerous and damaging natural disasters. As soon as they start, nothing can stop them, but there are a number of measures that can be taken to prevent and limit the damage as much as possible.
Common sources of flooding include the following:
- Melting ice and snow
- Several days of rain
How to Prepare for Flood Season
Especially for cities near rivers or large bodies of water, natural flooding poses a serious threat for homes and buildings. Springtime, with the melting snow, warmer temperatures, and large-accumulating rainstorms, is the most common time of year for flooding. This is known as flood season, however, flooding can occur at any time of the year.
While it’s impossible to prevent floods, limiting the damage can save an incredible amount of time, recovery efforts, and expenses.
Here are some tips to limit and possibly prevent damage before flooding:
- Develop and practice a flood evacuation plan that includes your family and pets
- Find out if your home or building is located in or near a flood zone
- Stay aware of local flood warnings on your phone or TV
- Create a flood preparation kit that includes a first aid kit, cash, batteries, and 3 days of food and water
- Be aware of the flooding risk in your area
- Consider adding flood insurance to your homeowner’s insurance plan
Flash floods are among the most dangerous disasters, as they can develop within seconds of rising water levels in streams, ditches, rivers, and even streets if the sewage drains are overwhelmed. Always stay alert and follow these steps if you notice signs of a flood warning.
Don’t panic if you have already suffered through a flood. Be sure to call a water damage restoration and flood cleanup company to conduct proper water extraction and save your belongings. Any hesitation will not only worsen the water damage, but more time and money will be spent in restoration of your damaged property.
The Differences Between a Flood Watch and a Flood Warning
When preventing and limiting flood damage, it is important to know the difference between a flood watch and a flood warning.
Flood Watch: What to Do
A flood watch means that a flood may come to your area, or that there is an elevated risk of one occurring. Therefore, be sure to take these steps during a flood watch:
- Get on-time updates from your phone, including weather updates and emergency preparation instructions
- Have the phone numbers of your local water damage restoration and insurance companies on hand
- Restock your flood preparation kit with cash, batteries, a flashlight, a first aid kit, and 3 days of food and water
- If needed, know where to find higher ground on foot
- Review the details of your emergency plan that includes all pets
Prepare the Home During a Flood Watch
- Disconnect appliances and electronics. Stay away from them if there is standing water within the property.
- Turn off the main power and gas line to prevent explosions and/or electrical fires if required
- Move important items and valuable to the highest floor within the home, such as the attic or bedrooms
- Move all outdoor furniture inside, such as the shed, garage, or first floor
Flood Warning: What to Do
- Bring all pets inside and gather all important records and documentation
- Move any livestock to higher ground or inside a barn
- Locate the nearest emergency shelter
- Never drive or walk through floodwaters as they are contaminated with a number of bacteria, viruses, and pathogens (you also might misjudge its actual depth)
- Evacuate your home if instructed.
After the Flood
- Take pictures of all damaged property to provide to your insurance company
- Be careful of all debris and erosion from the water if the roads are not flooded
- Only return home when the authorities deem it safe to do so
- Never drive or wade in standing water, especially if the roads are flooded. If your car stalls, you will suddenly be in a worse situation, even putting your lives in danger.
Nothing is more important than practicing personal safety in the event of natural or flash flooding. This is why the steps above are highly recommended during these emergency situations. For more information on how best to prepare for floods, be sure to visit the Department of Homelands Security’s page on flooding.
Water Damage Cleanup and Restoration After a Flood
After the flood and taking all safety measures, all attention should be turned towards the restoration of your property. This is most important as floodwaters especially will continue to spread and affect other areas, causing warping, staining, permanent structural damage, mold growth, the list goes on.
Never hesitate to reach out to a water damage restoration professional after a flood. Reputable companies will often have good online reviews, are available 24/7, licensed, trained, and experienced. After your first call, the technicians will arrive with all drying equipment needed for the initial water extraction of standing water and to prevent water damage from spreading. During the drying process, they will also remove all valuables, then inspect, and organize them into piles deemed unharmed and damaged.
In addition to restoring your property, water damage restoration and cleanup professionals will also restore personal content. This service is known as content restoration. Through perfected drying methods and advanced equipment, they should be able to restore many of the water-damaged items that may have been destroyed, had they been left to sit. For extreme cases, the water damage restoration company will provide pack-out services and deliver your items to a climate-controlled facility for full restoration. Once the restoration process on your home is complete, they will be delivered to your door.
After all restoration work is complete and the home is fully restored, the water damage restoration and flood cleanup company will work with your insurance company during the claims process so you can focus on other matters.