Top Tips for Flood Damage Clean-up
It seems that every year there are more stories in the news about floods. Did they always happen or are we now better informed? Is the incidence of flood damage on the increase as a result of global warming? No doubt the experts on these matters can argue this back and fore but regardless, if it happens to you, you need to know the best methods of flood damage clean-up.
As we have seen, the damaging effects of flood damage can seriously affect the structure of your property, destroy your personal belongings so the quicker you get your flood damage clean-up strategy in place, the better. This will improve the chances of recovering some items and limiting the damage to your property.
From the outset, flood water is considered to be contaminated and should be treated as such. I have been in many situations overseeing flood damage clean-ups and on every occasion I see people attempting to remove water, their possessions or building materials without wearing the appropriate protective clothing. On any level, this is not a good idea. You have no way of knowing what the flood water has come into contact with whether it is chemicals or sewage. So the message is that it’s more important to safeguard yourself than you possessions.
Generally flood damage is not going to be small or easy to deal with and there are a number of steps for you to consider:
- Plan, plan, plan. Understandably there is a temptation to jump in and get started but just that some time to think it through and have a clear idea of the work that’s involved, the resources you need and the time required. This timeout will pay dividend in the future.
- Pool your resources. If you neighbors have been effected to, now would be a good time to talk to them. Can you work together as a team, save money by buying what you’ll need in bulk or sharing equipment? And most of all, many hands make light work.
- Contact your insurers and find out how they can help and what you’re covered for. Likely they will appoint a loss adjustor to assess the damage, cost of repair and replacement.
- Record everything in writing, with photographs and video. Also keep a record during the cleanup and restoration processes. Plenty of photographs will help with your insurance claim.
- Be realistic. If it’s not salvageable, throw it out. If you have raw sewage in a carpet for example – you won’t get that clean but may spend many hours trying. For time and health reasons, make the tough decisions but be sure that your insurers are fully aware and agree with what you propose to do. Back up every conversation in writing.
- If items can be saved, clear them out and clean them immediately. If necessary, rent a storage unit for the duration of the flood damage cleanup process. (Sorry to state the obvious, but clean and dry everything before you put it into storage.)
Remove as much of the water, mud and debris as possible and ensure no further water in entering the building. If you are using contractors to undertake the work, they will supply a water pump. If not, invest in a good one – you’ll need it. Now the flood damage clean-up can truly begin.