Tips for Flooding from Natural Disasters

Flooding is a temporary overflowing of water onto land that is normally dry. Flooding may happen with only a few inches of water, or it may cover a house to the rooftop. There are many possible causes of floods including heavy rain or snowmelt, coastal storms and storm surge, waterway overflow from being blocked with debris or ice, or overflow of levees, dams, or waste water systems, Flooding can occur slowly over many days or happen very quickly with little or no warning, called flash floods.  Turn Around, Don’t Drown!

Tip:  Carry a waterproof Modern Emergency ID Card in your wallet or purse.

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  • Disaster response officials say it’s important to document the damage before you begin your cleanup and repairs. It’s best to have a date and time stamp on the photos, if possible, and document the damage in every room and inside closets and cabinets. The photos should be given to your insurance adjuster and, if necessary, the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
  • Clean up.  Do a form of triage: Decide what can be saved and what can’t. If in doubt, throw it out.
  • Strip the house of all furnishings impacted by flood waters. Cover salvageable items with plastic and leave outdoors to dry.
  • If the carpet got very wet, it has to go, since carpets harbor mold. Saturated carpet is heavy, so remove in 6-foot sections, roll them up with the pad and take it to the dump or put it out with the trash.
  • Any food including canned food that has been touched by flood water must be considered contaminated and discarded. Throw away anything porous that got wet: bedding, books and papers, upholstered furniture, kitchen utensils.
  • Use desiccants (materials that absorb moisture) in closets or other enclosed areas. These include chemical dehumidifying packets used to dry out boats, cat litter made of clay, or calcium chloride pellets used to melt ice in the winter. Hang the pellets in a pillow case in the closet and place a pan beneath to catch dripping water.

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