If a storm has brought floodwaters into your house, rental, or business, you’ll want to act fast with cleanup to help mitigate serious damages to your property. You may think it reasonable to do some of the cleanup on your own, but in most cases, it will be safer, faster, and cheaper to call in a professional cleanup company.
Contact Your Insurance Company Right Away
Before you begin cleaning up or altering the damaged area, you should call your insurance company to explain the depth of your flooded and damaged possessions.
Before you call, have the policy number and details about damaged areas and items ready. You may need information such as the age of your items, their original values, and their current cost to place. Your agent will most likely encourage you to take plenty of photos and videos of the flooded areas as well. You should also discuss with your agent whether you plan to do the cleanup on your own or plan to contact a professional cleanup company.
Ensure Your Safety
Your top priority in the cleanup process should be to ensure your safety and the safety of your family and pets. Check the exterior of the building before entering to ensure its structural soundness. If you can remain safe and dry, turn off the electricity to the flooded building. If you must walk into any water to turn the power off, stop and turn around. Do not step into any standing water. Contact a professional water damage cleanup company to turn it off for you.
Wear Proper Protective Gear
Protect your clothes and your health by putting on protective gear. A face mask can protect you from any airborne pathogens or mold caused by the flood. Wear water boots to protect your feet and gloves to keep your hands sanitary. You may also want to wear protective eye gear to protect your eyes from any debris.
Timing is Important
Do not waste time on getting the flooded area cleaned up. Whether you are cleaning up on your own or calling in the professionals, action should be taken swiftly. Mold only needs 24 hours of moisture to begin growing. Every day that it is not dried and cleaned properly increases the likelihood that mold will begin to spread to other areas.
Save What You Can
After you’ve been in contact with your insurance company to make a claim, you can begin going through your possessions to see what can be saved. Generally speaking, most items with hard surfaces, such as dishes or toys, can simply be cleaned with hot water and soap. Clothes and blankets can usually be easily washed in your washing machine.
Softer items that you can’t clean in a washing machine, like couches or mattresses, will often need to be thrown out due to their danger of growing mold. Photograph details and document any time you need to discard damaged property.
Mitigate Further Damage
After the flooded area has been cleaned, it’s time to give the entire area a good inspection. You will want to call in the professionals to make sure the electrical system, pipes, and structure haven’t been permanently damaged. If there is any long-term damage, check your insurance policy carefully to see it will cover any of the needed repairs. Restoration is the next step and returning you to a fully-functional, healthy space.