Natural calamities can strike without warning, and floods are among the most devastating. In places like Orlando, known for its scenic beauty and vibrant tourist scene, the impact of flood damage can be especially profound. In 2017, for instance, Hurricane Irma brought heavy rainfall and flooding to the Orlando area, causing significant property damage and displacing numerous residents.
The aftermath of such events demands a strategic response. From ensuring safety to orchestrating a comprehensive restoration plan, a systematic approach is crucial to minimize the long-term effects of flood damage.
In this guide, we will delve into the fundamental measures homeowners should take after flood damage occurs, focusing on restoring both the physical integrity of their homes and the sense of security they provide.
Remove Standing water and dry out the area:
When it is safe to do so, remove water as quickly as possible to mitigate further damage. In cities like Orlando, with its humid climate, prompt action becomes especially critical. Standing water can cause structural damage, but moist conditions can also foster mold development.
For a bit of water, homeowners can go old school with buckets, mops, and towels. However, when dealing with more extensive flooding, it's best to seek professional help. Leveraging the professional services of an experienced Orlando water damage restoration company can be immensely beneficial.
These professionals frequently employ sump pumps or wet vacuums to efficiently remove standing water. Once the water has been removed, it is critical to work on drying up the afflicted area. Using fans and dehumidifiers to hasten the drying procedure can reduce the danger of mold and structural damage. If the weather is suitable, opening windows can provide natural airflow, aiding in drying and reducing humidity inside the property.
Studies suggest that drying a property within the first 24 hours and thoroughly drying a home within 3-4 days will almost completely eradicate the chance of mold buildup.
The most important step in any disaster like flooding and water damage is ensuring you and your family are safe. Some of the ways to ensure everyone’s safety is:
Inspect Before Entry: First and foremost, it is strongly advised not to enter a flooded house until it has been officially declared safe to do so. However, if you need to re-enter the area, inspect it for any visible damage, such as cracked walls, sagging roofs, or unstable floors. If you're unsure, consult a professional.
Electrical Hazards: Water and electricity are a hazardous combination. Therefore, ensure that the power is switched off from the main breaker. If the breaker is submerged underwater, do not attempt to reach it to turn off the circuit. Instead, contact your utility company and have them disconnect the power. After the water has been removed and the area has dried, call an electrician to inspect your wiring.
Gas leak: Floodwater can displace gas lines, posing a risk. If you sense gas or hear a hissing sound, evacuate the area immediately and inform your gas line company.
Wear protective gear: Keep necessary protective gear like rubber boots, gloves, and masks within reach during flood season. Floodwater often carries contaminants, including bacteria and chemicals, that can be harmful upon contact or inhalation.
Document the damage:
Before you start any clearing or restoration, document the extent of the damage. This recording serves multiple purposes:
- It provides tangible evidence for insurances claims,
- It helps professionals understand the scale of damage
- It offers a point of reference for future preventative measures.
Moreover, adding clear, comprehensive photographs from various angles consisting of both wide views and close-ups, would be a wise idea. Alongside visuals, maintaining a written inventory of damaged property proves to be highly beneficial.
Always store this documentation in a secure digital format, such as cloud storage. This guarantees easy accessibility, especially during interactions with insurance companies.
Work with your insurance company:
Navigating the aftermath of a flood is challenging, but your insurance company can be an invaluable ally during these trying times. First and foremost, it's imperative to report the flood and initiate the claims process promptly. Any delays might just make things trickier and put a damper on your chances of getting the full compensation you deserve.
When you initiate the claim process, be armed with comprehensive documentation. The photos, videos, and lists of damages you've compiled will substantiate your claims, ensuring a smoother evaluation. Familiarize yourself with your insurance policy's fine print; understanding the coverage nuances can prevent potential disputes. Remember, the insurance adjusters have a mountain of properties to assess, so being proactive in your communication can give your claim the attention it needs and deserves.
Discard contaminated items:
Floodwater frequently contains dangerous bacteria, pollutants, and pathogens. Porous items, such as carpets, furniture, and cardboard boxes, absorb contaminants and can act as breeding grounds for mold and mildew. Every affected item must be evaluated.
Begin by going through your stuff and distinguishing what can be saved from what must be discarded. While some items can be cleaned and sanitized, others, particularly those that have been soaked for a lengthy period of time, should be removed to ensure a healthy living environment. Consider hiring professional cleaning services for valuable goods, as they have the skills and equipment to effectively disinfect them.
Mold can start growing within 24 to 48 hours after a flood, posing a significant threat to your home and health. It is important to take immediate action. Begin by removing soaked materials like carpets, drywall, and insulation. Properly clean and disinfect surfaces using a mixture of water and bleach or hire commercial mold removers.
Ensure effective ventilation to expedite drying. Keep in mind that personal protective equipment, such as gloves and masks, is crucial while dealing with mold-infested areas.
Plan future flood prevention:
When it comes to limiting the disastrous impacts of flooding, prevention is key. By proactively addressing any defects in the home’s structure, homeowners can dramatically reduce the chances of future damage.
It would be best to ensure your home has a good drainage system to prevent future disasters. Moreover, advanced measures, such as mounting flood barriers, using sump pumps, or even altering the landscape, may be required for those living in extremely vulnerable regions.
The restoration procedure following a flood can be difficult and daunting. However, with a systematic approach and the correct resources, you may reclaim and restore your home to its former splendor. Remember, it's critical to respond fast but safely to protect both your possessions and your loved ones.