The 7 Steps of Flood Recovery and Clean-up
WHERE DO I START?
Flooding is a traumatic experience — we unfortunately know what you are going through. Hopefully this list, built from first-hand knowledge, can help you organize a recovery game plan. This list assumes that water has receded from your home and you are beginning recovery. Download the PDF HERE
1. BE SAFE:
Electricity & Gas — Ensure that your home is not energized before beginning demolition or cleanup efforts. Disconnect your power and turn off gas. Also, watch out for downed power lines around your home.
Structure — Be wary of your building’s structure. Furniture has likely shifted, it’s slippery, and worse, there may be structural damage.
Critters and Nature — As if this wasn’t hard enough, nature has found its way into your home. Be wary of your surroundings and tight spaces.
2. INSURANCE & FEMA:
Contact your insurance company to begin the claims process. www.DisasterAssistance.gov is the quickest way to register with FEMA.
3. TAKE PICTURES and DOCUMENT EVERYTHING:
Takes lots of pictures. Upon first arrival to the house, outside and inside (if it’s safe). Even take a video if possible. Take pictures of flooded appliances, furniture, and valuables as you dispose of them including serial and model numbers. It is also a good idea to keep track of all recovery expenses because they’ll likely be tax deductible. Keep it simple and take pictures of receipts.
4. GET DRYING:
Aside from cleaning out the house, you need to get it drying immediately. If your power is off, keep windows and doors open. As soon as power is restored and deemed safe for your home, turn on your air conditioning, dehumidifiers, and fans.
5. THE CLEAN-OUT:
Getting rid of flooded valuables is gut-wrenching and confusing. Simplify the process by adhering to this rule: If flood water touched it, it likely goes in the trash. This will help mobilize your volunteers into action. If they are not sure, sort into two piles: Maybe, and Keep. Some non-porous items can be saved like hard surface kitchenware. Regarding appliances: some people have luck saving them after a thorough cleaning and weeks of drying. However, we’ve also heard from our employees and family these appliances end up failing months later.
Once the house is completely cleaned out, all wallboard and insulation must go. It’s recommended that you cut 12-inches above the high-water line. Cutting in 4 foot-high increments makes rebuilding much simpler. Tile flooring can be saved. Vinyl, wood, and carpet all has to go.
7. MOLD and DRYING:
Your home may now be quite breezy with open walls and no furniture. In order to ensure effective disinfecting and mold prevention, the house must be white-glove clean. Use your anti-fungal spray on everything. The floors, the wall studs, exposed plumbing… everything. Keep your air movers running and dehumidifiers on. The drying process often takes weeks. If you have a vapor barrier, you’ll need to check for moisture. Take moisture readings regularly on all surfaces — your goal is less than 15% moisture throughout the house.
Tools and Supplies Checklist:
• Contractor-Grade trash bags
• Face Mask with filter
• Leather gloves
• Disposable rubber gloves
• Push broom
• Floor squeegee
• Safety Goggles/Glasses
• Good box cutters or Dremel
• Extra blades
• Small sledgehammers
• Chalk line
• Hammers (ripping hammers are best)
• Wire cutters
• Snow shovel
• Pry bars
DISINFECT AND DRY:
• Floor squeegee
• Non-bleach anti-fungal cleaner
• Fans and air movers