The First 24 Hours: What You Need to Do to Save a Flooded House

What You Need to Do for Your Flooded House

Is your house in danger of flooding? The first 24 hours after water intrusion are critical. Here’s what you need to do to help save your flooded home.

What if the fate of your home depended on what you did in the next few minutes? For those who have a flooded house, this experience is very real and very terrifying.

If your home has flooded, especially after a major disaster, what you do in the first twenty-four hours is incredibly important. That’s why we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to every step you must take!

Picture Time

Believe it or not, the first step involves taking out your phone. You are now going to start taking extensive photos of the damage. You are doing this for the purpose of insurance because you must document how extensive the damage is before you try to repair anything.

Any kind of camera will work. However, insurers typically prefer digital images or videos because they are easier to store and ultimately easier to access. Once you have sufficiently documented everything, then it’s time to make some calls.

Contact Authorities

Your first instinct is going to be to rush into the house and save your belongings. However, it’s important for you to reach out and call the authorities as well as your insurance company. Local police will have experience and training to help deal with this. They can also help to contact some of the additional professionals that you will need to reach out to.

The earlier you contact the authorities, the earlier they can investigate the home and deem it safe. While you’ll still need to watch your step (more on this later), a good inspection can help you verify that the walls won’t unexpectedly collapse on you.

Gear Up

With the blessing of the authorities, it will be time to go inside the house. Before that, though, you’ll need to gear up.

Make sure you have gloves and masks on. Additionally, you should wear waders or hip-high boots to help protect you while you walk through areas that may contain a lot of water. You’ll need garbage bags on the first trips inside, both to help retrieve important documents and to gather things that can’t be saved. On later trips, you may need things like buckets and mops to help remove some of the excess water. 

Watch Every Step

Now that you’re going through the house, we have some very simple advice: watch every step you take! Even the best inspection teams may miss something and you could get seriously injured if your foot goes through a weakened stair or you slip on the slick floors.

If possible, it’s best to enter the house with another person. Both of you can assist one another as needed, and one person can call for help if the other gets injured. By paying attention to every step, you can make every step count.

Get Important Documents

Once you’re inside the house, you’ll probably want to retrieve things like photo albums and family videos, but don’t forget to focus on important documents. This might include things like the deed to your house, insurance paperwork, Social Security cards and so on. If they have been affected by water, then put them in the freezer so they can be easily read later on.

You can check with places such as the bank or the insurance company about what paperwork they really need. Right now though, try to grab anything that looks important. The old rule of thumb really applies here. “Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it!”

Call More Professionals

Your insurance company will be able to help you contact professionals who can help, but you may still need to reach out to some of them on your own. For instance, if you get your water from a well, that well will need to be inspected. You also may need to contact the gas company, which is even more important if you think you smell a gas leak. Finally, don’t try to turn anything electrical on until it has all been thoroughly inspected by a trusted electrician.

Call Your Insurance Company

It’s important to call your insurance company right away. To save time, try to call your local agent directly instead of calling the national or state phone number.

Insurance policies are usually very specific regarding what they cover and what they don’t. The company will need to look at the damage to your house, and they’ll want to review any images and videos you created of the damage. Finally, you’ll need to work with your insurance company when it comes to making repairs to the house. Following their guidelines will prevent many headaches down the line!

If your house hasn’t experienced flooding yet, it’s not too late to get insurance. Many people have at-risk homes and no flood insurance at all!

Flooded House: The Bottom Line

Now you know what steps to take in the first twenty-four hours of a flooded house. But do you know the professionals who can help you out? At Blackmon Mooring, disaster recovery and repair is our specialty. To see how we can help with every stage of flooded house and repair, contact us today.