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  • 7 Things You Should Do Following a Flood

    Flooded House following a floodFlooding can be a scary, dangerous disaster, and if not dealt with swiftly and properly after the fact, you could be in for even more lingering effects. It is recommended to bring your home back into good repair as soon as you can, so as to protect your health (such as from mold) as well as preventing further damage.

    But how do you do that? Great question. Let’s dive in (pun intended) and learn more about what you should do following a flood. Floodsmart.gov has many great suggestions, some of which we’ll be looking at in this article.

     

    Take Pictures

    While you will probably want to share your experience on social media, the pictures you take of the damages can - and should - be used by your insurance company when processing your claims. So before you start cleaning out and clearing up, make sure you photograph the mess your home is in, or else risk losing out on some coverage.

     

    Stay Healthy

    Floodsmart.gov recommends boiling all water for drinking and cooking until local authorities deem your water supply is safe. Because flood water can bring in a host of contaminates (including sewage, muck, and other things you don’t want in your system), you’ll want to make sure you have a way to treat your water before drinking it. Otherwise, be prepared to get a lot of bottled water from the store.

    Since flood water can be super nasty, it’s best to wear rubber boots to keep the water away from your skin. Likewise, wear gloves and other protective clothing while working to clear your house of leftover water and debris.

     

    Keep Power Off

    If you’re wading around in your flooded home, the last thing you want is to be zapped by a live current. Turn your power off and you’ll be just fine.

     

    Remove Wet Contents Immediately

    Mold grows quicklyFlooded Stuff following a flood, so make sure you get rid of all your wet belongings to avoid as much as possible. Washing walls and floor will also help keep mold out. Unfortunately, in order to clean floors, you might have to tear it out and replace it. But that’s better than leaving a flooded floor inside and having mold grow underneath it, which will cause health problems later on.

     

    File an Insurance Claim

    This goes without saying, but you need to have a flood insurance policy before you can actually file a claim. And remember, that policy needs to be purchased at least 30 days before a flood, or else the claim is void.

     

    Remove Water

    Wet Vac following a floodUnless you’re happy with your new built-in swimming pool, it’s time to remove the water from your home. Buckets are one way to bail out your home, but a more effective way is to use a sump pump. You can find these at most home supply stores. A wet vac is also necessary to dry up that water, which will also help reduce mold growth.

     

    Avoid Flooded Water

    WINDSOR, UK - 11 FEBRUARY following a flood

    Lastly, avoid flood water in streets, yards, or anywhere else. Dangerous debris can harm you. If you get cut while standing in that water the dirty, deadly contaminants and organisms can creep in to your wound and infect it, compromising your health. Flood waters may also continue to have a strong current, and even shallow water can sweep you off your feet. So be very careful around flood waters.

     

     

    Floods are the most common disaster in the United States and can be very dangerous and devastating. Make sure you know what to do following a flood before it happens, so when it does come you can go right to work.

     

    Disaster_Blog_Banner - following a flood

  • 5 Steps to Protect Your Home from Floods

    protect your home from floodsThere aren’t many places in the United States that are immune to flooding, so if you think you live or work in one of them, you’re probably mistaken. After all, flooding is the most common natural disaster in the country. From rivers overflowing their bounds to rain cascading down a parched hillside, and even broken water mains, there are many causes for floods. When floods do come, you’ll want to have your preparations done well in advanced. So how can you protect your home from flooding? Let’s explore some options.

     

    1. Clean Gutters and Drains

    protect your home, clean your gutters

    Gutters and drains are designed to transport rain water and melting snow away from your home. If your gutters aren’t clear of debris, however, that can cause overflowing and bring unwanted water much too close to your home. If there’s enough of that spill over, it can start seeping in to your home. The same thing goes with drains. If the street drains are blocked by leaves, dirt, and other obstacles, that will block the water from escaping, making it deeper and more likely to flow into your home. During heavy rains, it’s recommended to check those drains in your neighborhood, just to make sure they’re clear.

     

    1. Extra Roof Protection

    Why do you have a roof to begin with? It’s to keep out the rain and bad weather that happens all around you. So why, then, would you not keep your roof in prime condition? Bad roofing can cause rain and melting snow to leak through your roof into your home, causing damage. If you have an attic, you may not even realize your roof is leaking until the damage becomes bad enough. The next time you repair your roof, consider installing a rubber underlayment, which will help waterproof your roof.

     

    1. Know Your Threat Level

    Not all homes are created equal. Some are built on floodplains while others are built far away from rivers or other natural water sources. Some are built on hills and some at their base. No matter where you live, however, there’s always a threat of flooding. By knowing your risk, you can more properly prepare, including how much flood insurance you should get.

     

    1. Flood Insurance

    protect your homeSpeaking of flood insurance… While not technically a way to protect your home from flood damage, it is a way to protect yourself from covering all the costs of such damage. While you’ll still have to pay deductibles, it’s a lot better than having to spot the bill for everything damaged. When looking in to a policy, make sure you understand what’s covered. Not all flooding is covered in your policy. For example, Flood Smart informs us that floods caused by sewer backups is only covered by flood insurance if the backup was caused by a flood itself. Otherwise, no deal. So make sure you know what you’re getting. Also – and this is important – most flood insurance becomes active after 30 days or purchase. So if you’re expecting heavy rain next week and decide to get flood insurance just before it comes, you’ll most likely be out of luck. Keep a catalog of all your belongings – pictures, video, spreadsheet…whatever works for you – so you know exactly what to tell the insurance company.

     

    1. Go Black

    If your home starts taking in a lot of water, you may want to consider pulling the plug on your power. Water is a wonderful conductor of electricity and if you’re forced to wade through flood waters, the last thing you need is to get zapped while trying to bail yourself out.

     

    True, it’s hard to protect yourself from rushing rivulets flowing through your home. After all, you can only do so much before having to just hope for the best. Having flood insurance is one of the most certain way of being protected. Even if your home and belongings are damaged beyond repair, you can at least get most of it back.

     

    How do you prepare for floods? Let us know in the comments below!

     

    Disaster_Blog_Banner - protect your home

  • Spring Floods Are Coming: 4 Ways They Can Get You

    Flooded HomesSpring has all but sprung for us here in Utah, and although we’ll probably get a bunch more snow before summer rolls around (don’t worry, we’re used to it…), that’s not about to put a damper on the wonderful weather we’ve been having. What might put a damper on it, however, are the spring floods that can be prevalent this time of the year.

    According to FEMA, there are four main causes for spring flooding. While some of these causes may be more relevant to you in your area than others, you should still be aware of them all, because spring flooding can affect everyone.

     

    Spring Thaw

    If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow, this is a big one to look out for. When the weather warms up, snow can melt quickly, resulting in a river of runoff. According to FEMA, just one foot of compacted snow contains a gallon of water. Having all that snow melt quickly could quite literally open the floodgates and wash your home – inside and out. But it’s not just the melting snow that can get to you. Runoff joins up with rivers and streams quickly, which can then force them over their banks, causing excessive flooding.

     

    Spring Rains

    Flooded pitch - spring floods Over-saturated ground won't absorb any more water.

    Downpours that last just a few hours or prolonged precipitation that can last for days are ingredients to the recipe for floods. Spring is known for its showers and wet weather, which brings renewal to the earth. While that’s just swell, it’s also a recipe for flooding. Once the ground receives too much rain, it becomes saturated and won’t take in any more. So what happens to the water it won’t let it? It will start piling up on top, spilling down hills and into anything that stands in its way.

    Heavy rain is also dangerous in areas that were recently affected by fires. Forest fires burn the ground, making it more than difficult for water to seep in. Instead of going into the earth, it runs down those parched hills, flooding anything in its path.

     

    Flash Flooding

    Heavy rain form multiple storms or one massive thunderstorm can be too much for the ground to absorb fast enough. When this happens, you’ve got a flash flood. FEMA describes this as “rapid flooding of low-lying areas in less than six hours.” Drought-stricken areas can be a major contributor to flash floods as well, since the dry ground won’t absorb the rain. Flash floods are especially frightening due to the speed in which the waters rise. When a flash flood comes, your time for preparing are past.

     

    Levees and Dams

    Teton Dam Flood - Spring floodsThe United States has thousands of miles of levees and dams, all of which are there to help protect us from flooding. However, these can weaken and erode – or even flood over and fail – during times of intense rain. One example of severe flooding from a dam is the Teton Dam Flood in Idaho in 1976. This flood was catastrophic and caused massive amounts of damage to the communities it rushed through.

     

     

    These are some of the main causes of flooding, but don’t be surprised if the waters rise in some other way. For even more ways you could be affected by floods, visit floodsmart.gov. They have a long list of flood causes, although many of them are very area specific.

    So, now that you know some major flood threats, how will you prepare for them? Research the various flood threats within your area and prepare accordingly. For starters, we recommend investing in an emergency kit that’s easy to grab and take with you should you need to evacuate. After all, if the flooding gets bad enough, you could be without a home for quite some time. You’ll be grateful you have those resources to fall back on.

     

    What are the flood risks in your area, and how are you prepared for them?

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