After a Flood
Cleanup and recovery from a flood can span anywhere from days to months. You should begin cleanup immediately because flood waters can carry contaminants that can pose health risks, such as sewage, fertilizer, manure, gas, and pesticides. It is important to stay out of flood waters if possible and clean up properly.
Immediately After a Flood:
- Put Safety First: If your basement is flooded, put your safety first. A flooded basement can pose an electrical hazard to you and your family members, so, if possible, turn off the circuit breakers to your basement or contact an electrician to help you assess whether it’s safe to enter the basement for water removal or not. Any electronics that are in contact with floodwater are unsafe!
- Document the Damage: Throughout the entire process, including the removal of water and afterwards, document the process of the flooding and damage through photos so that you are able to submit them to your insurance company.
- Move Important Items to a Dry Area: Once it is safe to enter the basement, remove important items, upholstered furniture or items in boxes that are standing in water and bring them to a dry area. If water has been standing for too long, it can become dangerous to enter and the water removal process may require additional assistance by professionals.
- Remove the Water: It is important that you remove water as quickly as possible, as a damp environment gives mold the change to grow, which could increase property damage costs. If you have high levels of water, call the Millburn Non-Emergency Call Center at (973) 564-7000 for a pump-out, or hire a trusted and licensed third-party contractor.
- Dry the Area: Once you have removed the water, your basement will not dry on its own. To assist in the drying process, use fans or industrial blowers, a dehumidifier and dry mops to help remove any excess water and minimize the chance of mold.
- Call your Insurance Company: Now that the area is cleaned up and safe, call your homeowners insurance to file a claim for damages. Homeowners insurance and renters insurance often requires special flood insurance for flooding caused by natural disasters, but it is always a good idea to call and report the claim even if it is not covered. Flood coverage is an add-on to your regular policy, so you’ll want to be sure you’re covered before you need it. Most standard insurance policies cover flood damage caused by appliance failure or a burst pipe.
- Clean, Sanitize, Deodorize: Use soap and warm water to thoroughly clean all walls that came in contact with water. Along with your dehumidifier and blowers, a HEPA air purifier will help filter out mold spores and allergens. Once your basement is dry and all water removed, continue to check your basement every day after the flood and keep an eye out for mold. If you see a suspicious-looking spot, clean the area with bleach and warm water. Third party contractors are trained in cleaning, sanitizing and deodorizing from this type of damage. If needed, give them a call!
- Prevent Future Floods: After heavy rain and/or flooding are over, try to figure out what caused the issue. Did a heavy storm flood your lawn and drain into the basement? Do you have cracks in your foundation? Do you need to replace your sump pump or upgrade it to a newer model? Talk to professionals to learn how to update make improvement or repairs to prevent another flood.