1. Safeguard your possessions
Create a personal flood file containing information about all your possessions and keep it in a secure place, such as a safe deposit box or waterproof container. This file should have:
- A copy of important documents, including insurance policies with RMS’ contact information (625-1091 – 7; email@example.com)
- A household inventory. Keep receipts and videotapes or photographed records of major household items and valuables, have jewelry and artwork appraised and insured.
2. Prepare your house
- Clear debris from gutters and downspouts.
- Weather proof doors and make sure downspouts move water away from your house.
- Anchor any fuel tanks.
- Place the water heater at least 12 inches above the projected flood elevation.
- Place toxic substance such as pesticides and insecticides on high shelves.
3. Develop a family emergency plan
- Create an evacuation kit with drinking water, canned food, opener, first aid, a radio/flashlight with fresh batteries, clothes, copies of important documents including insurance policies, medication, bug spray, pet food all in plastic bags.
- Keep your phone charged and have a backup battery.
- If you have elderly or disabled family members, post emergency telephone numbers by the phone.
- Plan and practice a flood evacuation route with your family and pets from home, work and school.
- Ask a relative or friend out of the flood zone to be your emergency family contact.
Protect Yourself and Your Home
If it has been raining for some hours and you are concerned about flooding:
- Gather your emergency supplies.
- Charge your cellphone.
- Monitor social media (WhatsApp, Facebook) the radio or television for evacuation instructions and road closures.
- Disconnect non-essential electrical appliances to prevent electrical shock when power is restored. DO NOT touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water. Shut off the electricity only if flooding has not yet begun and the area around the fuse box is completely dry. Stand to the side of the breaker panel and look away from the panel when switching the power off.
- Move items off the floor or from under the bed.
- If flooding occurs, grab your evacuation bag and your pet and go to higher ground, avoiding areas subject to flooding or landslips. Leave a note advising when you left and where you went.
- Try to move your car to safer ground once the water is over two inches. If your car is flooded, do not attempt to start or move it.
- Use social media to determine location of floodwaters and avoid walking or driving through them. Water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline or raw sewage, harmful bacteria or electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
- Listen to a battery-operated radio for the latest storm information.
- If you’ve come in contact with floodwaters, wash your hands with soap and disinfected water.
- Check for structural damage before re-entering your home.
- If the main power switch was not turned off prior to flooding, do not re-enter your home until a qualified electrician has determined it is safe to do so. There is a danger of electrical shock from any electrical device that has been flooded. DO NOT turn on your water pump/heater until equipment has dried and been checked by a qualified electrician.
- Take photos of any floodwater in your home and save any damaged personal property.
- Make a list of damaged or lost items and include and place with the inventory you took prior to the flood. Some damaged items may require disposal, so keep photographs of these items.
- Boil water for drinking and food preparation until authorities tell you that your water supply is safe.
- Prevent mold by removing wet contents immediately. Use fans to dry out cupboards (provided the electrical outlets are safe).
- Wear gloves and boots to clean and disinfect. Wet items should be cleaned with a pine-oil cleanser and bleach, completely dried, and monitored for several days for any fungal growth and odors.
- Walls, hard-surfaced floors, counters, other household surfaces should be cleaned with soap and water and disinfected with a solution of 1 cup of bleach to five gallons of water.
- Store all valuable papers that have been damaged in a freezer. NALIS (624-4466 Ext. 2205 or 2221) can help restore water damaged documents.
Make A Claim
- Call RMS to file a claim (625-1091 – 7; firstname.lastname@example.org) . An adjuster should contact you within a few days of filing your claim. Make sure your house number/street name is visible (use permanent marker or paint).
- Separate damaged from undamaged property. Your adjuster will need evidence of the damage to your home and possessions to prepare your repair estimate.
- Take photos of damaged items, discarded objects, structural damage and standing water levels.
- Make a list of damaged or lost items and get replacement costs.
- If possible, place flooded items outside of the home
- You will need to complete a claim form with an estimate of repairs or replacement items as soon as possible. If your car engine was flooded DO NOT attempt to start it, but have it towed to a garage. If catastrophic flooding occurs, it may take longer to obtain estimates.
- Remember, separate policy excesses will be deducted from claims for your house, contents and your car.