We always think ‘it’ll never happen to me’ and so when that time does come we are often not prepared for it. Unfortunately, these things happen, particularly during the winter months and during months of unpredictable weather. What is important now is acting quickly so that we can minimise costs and damage done. Whether it is a small flood or a devastating flood, the lasting effects can be for the long term and can rack up the costs if you are not careful, so it is important to grab the bull by the horns.
Where restoration work is concerned, it is essential that you are able to gather all the necessary information to present to your insurers so that you can go ahead and start getting your life back. Read on to find out what you should do immediately following a flood.
Is it Safe to Re-enter the Property? Ask the Authorities
There is no point going into a damaged and potentially dangerous building. It is important that you, therefore, wait for the all clear before re-entering the property. We understand that you want to survey the damage or even salvage a few precious valuables, but your safety trumps all other objectives. Once the local authorities have deemed it safe to re-enter, you can do so willingly.
Another important point to notice is if any electrical equipment has been unplugged by authorities. Do not attempt to plug in any electrics following a flood if they have been unplugged. They have likely been unplugged for a reason.
If Needed – Arrange Somewhere to Stay
Sometimes it can take a little time for you to collect yourself and to start making the necessary repairs. If your property is severely damaged by a flood or other weather based disaster, it is important that you have somewhere close by to stay. You can stay with a friend or relatives or if needs be, your insurance company may be able to put you up in a hotel for the time being, but it is important that you know where you will be staying.
Having this arranged takes precedence over sorting your property out, particularly if you have young children. You need to think about their welfare and safety before you start looking into the damage caused and how to eventually repair it. While you need to get the ball rolling, you shouldn’t be rushing to move back into your property, especially not so soon after the damage has been done.
Save any Valuables
Once you have arranged alternative accommodation and checked with the local authorities that it is safe to re-enter the property, look around for any valuables you want to salvage. If you have mementos such as photo albums or old drawings that haven’t been properly stored or preserved, be prepared for the worst.
Take Note of the Damage
Start by taking a full inventory of everything you see. If any electrical equipment has been clearly damaged in the flood, note it down. Note down any missing items and note down all damaged furniture and sentimental items. While the insurance company will be able to restore and potentially replace the electrical items and furniture, a monetary form of compensation may be all that you can receive for sentimental items of value lost in the disaster.
Get Your Insurance Claim In
If you hold an insurance policy covering your property in the event of a flood or other natural disaster, now is the time to call them up and make a claim. The policy should be able to cover property damage, damage to furnishings and if any valuables have been destroyed in the accident you could also be liable for monetary compensation or the equivalent of. It is important that you take a relevant inventory so that your insurance company is able to properly compensate you for all you have lost.
They may also get you in touch with a professional cleaning company who will be able to minimise damages and prevent any further damage from occurring. Upholstery cleaners, carpet cleaners and deep cleaners are often required for more severe floods as it is not a matter of simply letting your furniture drip dry. If left unattended, the furniture could grow mould or encourage damp in the walls of your property, and that is both time consuming and costly to fix.
It is important not to lose your head in situations such as these. It is a devastating event that will have lasting effects on your home, your family and your lifestyle for some time. However if you try to proceed with restoration and making your insurance claims in a business-like manner as soon as possible, the right professionals will be able to help you get your life back on track more quickly and more efficiently.
This article was provided by Sara Bryant working with Cleaning Industrial Solutions who were consulted over the content.