Floodwaters, even if only a few inches high, can lead to serious home damage and the possibility for health concerns. Getting things cleaned up as quickly and efficiently as possible is crucial for protecting your family and property. The first step is to take pictures of the damage so it's documented for insurance purposes. Then call your independent insurance agent to start the claims process. Be sure to keep receipts from cleanup expenses to help with reimbursement.
Taking photos is one thing, but you must protect yourself before getting down and dirty during in the floodwaters. Turn off the electricity to prevent shocks and don safety gear — long pants and sleeves, rubber boots, thick gloves, face mask and safety glasses — before entering a flooded area that could contain harmful bacteria and sewage. Be sure to bring along some fresh water and soap so you can stay hydrated and wash up after working.
While you work, open the doors and windows to air out your home. It may also be beneficial to rent a few large fans and dehumidifiers to help speed things along. The faster your home dries, the better because the development of mold and mildew can cause bigger problems and can affect your health.
The next step is to begin sorting your possessions by salvageable items and non-salvageable items. Many hard items, like furniture and cookware, are salvageable, but must be sanitized with a solution of three-quarters of a cup of bleach to one gallon of water. Soft items, like clothing and linens, may be salvageable if they were only splashed with floodwater, but should be thrown away if submerged. These soft items, along with dishes, can be brought to a friend's house to be washed in the washing machine and dishwater while your home is being cleaned.
You will also have to remove drywall and carpeting that was affected by floodwaters. Remember to wash the countertops, floors, walls, furniture and other hard surfaces with the bleach solution to remove contaminants.
When the cleanup is complete, have an electrician inspect the house to ensure it's safe to turn the power back on. You should also consider having the air ducts inspected for mold before running the air conditioning to contaminants from blowing all throughout the house.
We're committed to helping you rebuild. Call Hotwire Insurance Services at (858) 277-2719 for more information on San Diego flood insurance.