Flood recovery resources
Online resources for repairs
Online resources for rebuilding
FEMA online resources on flood insurance policies
Personal safety, health risks and mold
Personal safety tips from the AIA Disaster Assistance Committee:
- Stay out of standing water, watch for manhole covers.
- Water and electricity don’t mix. Be absolutely positive that the power to an area/structure is off. Be particularly wary if you hear a generator running. If not installed correctly generators can back-feed the grid and cause off-site electrocutions.
- In rural areas propane tanks may float or move during a flood compromising the fuel line to a building. Be careful if you smell gas.
- Structures may have detached from a foundation, sometimes this is immediately obvious, other times not so. Approach each structure with an eye toward evaluating this risk. Additionally, objects floating in the flood water (and the force of the water itself) may have damaged a portion of a structure or undermined a foundation element, be sure to walk completely around a structure before entering.
- Mud and debris can hide broken glass, nails, etc.—wear protective footwear. Be sure to have a tetanus shot before deployment to any hazardous area. Also gloves and masks may be helpful/necessary in some locations.
- Contact the local health department about potential health risks, standing water can breed mosquitoes, etc.
- There are three types of “water”: white, grey, and black. White is the least dangerous – it is basically clean water (may or may not be potable). Grey and black water are ‘contaminated’ and ‘polluted.’ Grey water is defined as containing only “dirt, dust, and other particles that are lifted from the ground in its path.” Black water contains sewage and other bio-hazardous materials in it. Both grey and black water may “require special process to eliminate and remove bacteria, odors, and other microbes.” Use caution when confronted with areas that have been exposed to grey or black water.
- Drywall and wall insulation is easily damaged by flood water, as is carpeting, hard wood and laminate flooring. Repair or replacement with vary widely depending on the material and length of time exposed to water – it is best to leave the analysis of whether or not these can be salvaged to water loss mitigation professionals.
- Electrical outlets, equipment (microwaves, TVs, etc.) are also easily damaged by exposure to flood water. Don’t assume that if the water is gone it is OK to plug something into an outlet.
- Mechanical equipment, AC units, furnaces, water heaters must be evaluated by trained technicians before repowering if they have been exposed to flood water.
- Animals – they were displaced during flooding and will look for places to shelter. Do not be surprised to find snakes and other creatures (raccoons, possums), inside structures. Use caution when confronted by wildlife, they may be agitated and confused, injured or ill. Additionally, the flood will have killed animals, this is unpleasant, but recommend that they be removed from interior spaces as soon as possible.
- The water loss industry has made great strides in helping people recover damaged belongings. This can be expensive, but if photographs, important papers (e.g. wills, deeds) are water logged but otherwise intact, please let people know that there may be hope of salvaging them.