What to Do Before, During, and After a Major Flood

What to Do Before, During, and After a Major Flood

Major storms have descended on the southern part of the country, leaving Texas and other states to deal with massive flooding. Whether you are currently experiencing a flood, or live in an area that could experience flooding in the future, it’s important to have the right information at hand to minimize the danger to your family, your home and your belongings.

Follow these tips on what to do before, during, and after a major flood and increase your chances of weathering the storm.

Before the Flood Arrives

  • Build an emergency preparedness kit with enough food, water and supplies to survive for several days in the event of a disaster that cuts off your utilities and access to other services.
  • Have a plan with your family on how to get in touch with one another when a disaster strikes, especially if cell phone service is disrupted.
  • Install your important equipment like the HVAC gear, hot water heater and electric panel high off the ground, so it has a better chance of surviving a flood.
  • Most homeowners insurance policies do not cover floods. If you live in an area that is at risk, make sure you are backed by the National Flood Insurance Program to reduce your liability to loss.

During the Flood Event

  • Remember that floods can be unpredictable and life-threatening. Take care of your personal safety first. Keep the radio on and listen carefully for information from local, state or federal officials. If ordered to evacuate, follow the instructions to ensure that you and your family find safety and security beyond the reach of the flood waters.
  • If it’s still safe to operate electrical equipment, get your sump pump in gear to keep the basement as dry as possible.
  • Unplug your non-essential electronics and move them to upper floors in your home, along with other important items you want to protect.
  • If the flooding is severe, you may have to shut off your electricity and gas at the main switch to limit the risk of fire.
  • If any electrical equipment gets wet, leave it alone. Likewise, don’t touch electrical cords, plugs, or electronics if you are standing in water.

In the Aftermath

  • Once the immediate danger of a flood has passed, you may face a lot of work to make your home habitable again. Check out the Red Cross book on Repairing Your Flooded Home for a thorough walk-through of all the steps you should take.
  • Document the state of your home and belongings with notes and photographs, and bring your insurance company into the loop to help expedite your claims.
  • Get your sump pump or drains back in order to remove any remaining water from your house right away.
  • Call in professional repair people deal with any damage to your septic tank or sewer outlet as soon as possible to limit the health hazard.
  • Have a professional evaluate your gas and electric connections before you try to turn them back on.
  • Open up the doors and windows and place fans strategically around the house to dry everything out. This will prevent mold and mildew from forming.
  • Make sure that you clean and disinfect any parts of the house or furniture that came in contact with flood water, particularly if sewage backup was involved.

In the event of a catastrophic flood, our plumbers, electricians and heating and cooling technicians are available 24 hours a day for expert repair, maintenance and installation services. Visit Direct Energy’s Home Services to learn more.

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