A Controlled Emergency
One of the most destructive events for a building is a flood. In the last several years it seems we have had two or three “hundred-year floods.” This year is shaping up to be no different. We are in the time of year when owning beautiful riverfront property suddenly seems like not such a good idea. Here are some tips that can help make a potential tragic flood into a controlled emergency.
- Know if you are on a Floodplain
First and foremost know if your home or business is on or near a floodplain. Searching your address on FEMA’s flood map service center can tell you a lot and show you some surprising things. St Louis City and County span the floodplains of three major rivers and have many smaller, less noticeable streams running through them. When researching article this I found that our office is less than a mile from a flood plain! Imagine my surprise.
- Make sure you have insurance coverage
Speak to your insurance agent about your coverage before something happens. Your basic home owner’s policy probably doesn’t cover a flood, you will either need a separate policy or a rider for this. If you are in or near a floodplain, you should triple check flood coverage. For example, maybe the river doesn’t come over the foundation wall, it flows into a manhole cover that is above the level of the floor drain in your basement. We have cleaned up exactly this scenario on a few occasions! We have seen water get in under, through, and over the foundation, through basement windows and even through the front door. Make sure that your policy covers every way that a stream or river can get into your home or business.
- Have a Plan
Have a plan and make sure your whole family knows it. The website Ready.gov is a great resource for planning in advance of a flood. Don’t forget pets in your plan! The location of your home or business will determine the degree of plan you need. Our next blog will cover this much more thoroughly so stay tuned. You do not want to be that guy whose family has to be airlifted off the roof because the road was closed before you got out of dodge.
- Keep valuables out of the basement
If you have valued artwork, family heirlooms, or other valuable things keep them on the upper floors of your home. When cleaning up your home, we have to treat flood water like sewage. In other words, the hundred-year-old family photos in a shoebox in the basement are toilet paper through the lens of a respirator. The signed first edition book from your favorite author should not be in the basement. Put precious items in a safe place in the home so that they don’t get damaged by a flood.
- Make the basement water resistant in advance
Carpet does not like water. If there is a minor flood in the basement of your home, flooring can be affected majorly. A basement flooded by contaminated water such as sewage, river water, a fish tank, etc. makes it so we have to remove all flooring to decontaminate. Flooring such as hardwood, laminate, and vinyl tile frequently come up but flooring that is permanently attached such as ceramic tile will be able to be cleaned from above. Flood water is very hard on drywall, paneling, and so on, but you can install it so it doesn’t touch the ground. This makes it so that unless the water gets deep, the drywall doesn’t get wet. For more tips on making your basement water resistant, see our article about this.
Keeping You Safe & Making Recovery a Little Easier
Having all this laid out in advance could not only help you recover your home after a flood but save your life during one. On August 23rd, 2017 nobody in Houston thought a little tropical storm in the Caribbean named Harvey was important. Floods can work much the same way – a high river and a sudden downpour can escalate things quickly. Nobody thinks it can happen to them until it does.
Our entire Fast Help team is trained and equipped to handle the flood aftermath in a home or business. Unless the building is a total loss, we can bring it back to the state it was in before. We are available 24/7, 365 days a year. We can help you prevent, mitigate, and restore your home or business when it comes to water damage and mold issues. Contact us today for a free estimate.