Dealing with Flooding from Hurricane Sandy

The disaster clean-up efforts for the damage done by Hurricane Sandy made headlines all around the world.  The effects of the hurricane were ubiquitous: New York flooding closed the stock market for several days for the first time in decades.  With only days to go before the Presidential Election, campaign visits were blocked.  Television stations were flooded by the news of the problems on the East Coast.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, water damage was extensive.  Flood damage from the storm was said to be in the billions.  News reports showed pictures of thousands of flooded homes.  For homeowners, home repair became the top priority.

One of the keys to effective disaster clean-up after flooding is to deal with the water remaining in the home as soon as possible.  This was not a hard concept to disseminate to families that were anxious to restore their homes as soon as possible.  Work can begin as soon as water levels drop below street level, and the flooding danger has run its course.  While this is happening, you should perform the first and perhaps most important step of flood clean-up, which is to contact your insurance company.  The clean-up should be performed under their direction, in order to keep the terms of the policy in force.  Be sure not to do anything before contacting them.  If you absolutely have to remove something, be sure to take pictures or video to document the removal.  The insurance company in turn will immediately send out a water remediation specialist to begin the process.

The water remediation specialist begins the disaster clean-up by removing all of your household items and supervising the drying of both the items and the home itself.  During this time, it is also often a good idea to have a mold specialist on board as well.  Controlling mold is something you don’t want to deal with on your own.

Before anyone enters the home, be sure to turn off the power.  Asking the power company how to do this safely, or better, asking them to perform the shutdown, is essential.  With the power off and the specialists on task, you are ready to sort through the damage.  Throw away any saturated furniture.  The same goes for the carpet.  Remove millwork and sheetrock as well as any damp insulation behind it.  If water has seeped below your cabinets, it’s usually a good idea to remove them as well.  Examine the flooring carefully.  Remember that a dry top doesn’t guarantee that moisture has not seeped below.  Unfortunately, the best strategy is to remove them as well.  You may need to hire a disaster recovery company for all of this work.  And remember to work closely with your insurance adjustor throughout the process of the disaster clean-up.

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