Experiencing a flood is incredibly stressful, not to mention dangerous due to the speed, depth, hidden obstacles and contamination within the water. There’s no doubt that the most important thing to do is check that you and your family are safe.
Once you have dealt with the initial ordeal, organised accommodation, and your insurance company has been notified, you will then need to return home and start the process of repairing your property.
If you need a structural engineer to survey the damage during this, contact a member of our team who will be happy to help you through the process. This article has mapped out some steps that we hope will offer you some support and guidance.
Dealing with a Flood
When dealing with a flood, some principles need to be followed to ensure that you work through the flood as safely as possible, these include:
- Stopping the water at the source
- Turning off the electricity – if this can be done without stepping in water
- Checking your property for visible signs of structural damage
- Wearing protective clothing and footwear
- Ensure you have a means of communicating – such as a charged mobile so you can call for help
What Not to do After a Flood
There are also some essential things that you do not do during or after a flood; these include:
Do Not Walk or Drive Through Floodwater
Stay out of the water unless it is unavoidable or urgent. Hidden dangers can lurk below the water’s surface, such as potholes, manholes, and debris that can entangle you.
Moving flood water is even more dangerous; shallow depths can easily sweep you and your car away.
Do Not Turn on the Mains
If the mains were turned off before you left the property, you will need to check with your utility service to ensure it is safe to turn them back on.
They may first need to inspect your property before confirming it is safe to turn them back on.
Advice for Businesses
If the property is used for commercial purposes, some additional pieces of advice should be taken note of:
- Do not call your employees back to work unless you are certain it is safe to do so. If you have alternate accommodation, it should be your primary workplace until it is safe to return.
- Check what personal belongings your staff left in the property that were either lost or damaged during the flood.
What You Should Do When Returning Home
If you have had a serious flood, you may have had to leave your home and seek alternate accommodation. If this has been the case, you will need to contact the emergency services to ensure that it’s safe to return home.
When returning home to check for damages and initiate the repairs, several things need to be done.
During this time, it can be challenging to remember all of the tasks and stay focused; here at Martin Perry Associates, we offer services that involve leading insurance companies that can help to restore your home as quickly as possible.
- If you haven’t already, you should start by contacting your insurance company and notifying them about the flood.
- Make your own record of the flood damage.
- Clean up after the flood.
- Clear away the damaged items.
- Start to organise the process of drying out the property and possessions and the eventual replacements and the repair of the property.
Make a Record of the Flood Damage
When there has been a flood, there’s a lot to record. You’ll need to keep a record of:
- Dates and times you contact your insurer
- The highest level of the flood
- Flood damage using photographs and video footage
- Flood damage details – create an inventory of the make, model, colour and age
- Food that has gone off or thrown away due to contamination
- Your claim – who you spoke to, the date and time you received/made the call and what was agreed upon
- Copies of letters, emails and faxes
- Receipts for emergency repair – such as emergency electric fitting repairs
Unless told otherwise, don’t remove or replace any damaged items without your insurance company’s approval, excluding:
- Gone off or contaminated food
- An item that is considered dangerous
Here at Martin Perry Associates, we have a vast amount of experience with insurance claims. We can help to help you restore your home to its former glory. We aim to support you through the process with the least amount of disturbance and stress possible.
Cleaning up After the Flood
There are many cleaning stages after a flood; the first and foremost is to pump out the remaining floodwater.
You will first need to choose the right pump for the job; this will depend on how much water will need to be moved and how fast. It’s recommended that no more than 1m of water should be removed per day.
You can also unblock air bricks and other ventilation holes in the walls or floors to allow water to escape down nearby drains.
Once the water has been drained, you will want to start considering how to dry out the property. To do this, you will need to get hold of the appropriate equipment, such as dehumidifiers.
The internal structure will need to be as dried out as possible; this may take several weeks to months. It’s often best to reach out to a chartered surveyor for professional advice. Here at Martin Perry Associates, we are happy to share our expertise to ensure your property is restored as quickly as possible.
Replace Damaged Items
Items that will be included in your insurance claim should not be disposed of. Ensure that the damage of these has been sufficiently documented.
You can start by removing damaged plasterboard that has been affected by the flood. If possible, you should aim to replace the plasterboard with a much more resilient one.
Any debris that is found on site should be removed, including damaged carpets, floor covering, and items.
Once you have organised your insurance claim and the property has been cleaned up and is drying out, you will probably want to consider how you will repair your home and establish a much stronger flood protection in place.
Some insurers will cover all or some of the cost. You might also be able to claim compensation for loss of utilities.
For more information and support about dealing with the damages of a flood and repairing your home, contact a member of our team here, at Martin Perry Associates. Our chartered surveyors and structural engineers will be happy to help turn your house back into a home.