What To Do When Returning Home For The First Time After A Major Flood

If you had to evacuate your home because of rising flood waters, and your home was in the flood zone, you need to take a few precautionary steps before you return to your home. Here are a few things you need to do before you hit the road to check out the condition of your home.

#1. Make Sure That It Is Safe To Return

The first thing you need to do is make sure that it is safe to return to your home. Check the information provided by a local news station from officials in your area. Do not return yet if the local authorities have not deemed it safe to do so. You could get in the way of emergency crews and end up needing help yourself. Wait until the all clear is given before you return. 

#2. Create A Communication Plan

Cell towers may be down in your area because of all the flooding. Make sure you create a communication plan with your family and friends so that they will know you are okay. Make sure your family and friends realize that you will have limited communication opportunities, and may need to drive out of the affected area to contact them. Set a specific time of day to get in touch with them or let them know how many days they should expect to wait before hearing from you. 

#3. Pack For The Road Trip

Before you return to see your flood-damaged house, you need to make sure that you have all the right supplies. If the flood area was particular large, it may take you a lot longer than usual to reach your home due to all the damage that the flood created. Be sure to prepare for a potential long road trip by packing the following items in your vehicle:

  • Blanks
  • Pillows
  • Bottled Water
  • Food

You should also try your best to enter the affected area with a full tank of gas. The gas stations that you are used to going to may be closed, damaged or out of fuel. To be extra safe, you may also want to pack some extra fuel in your vehicle. You may also want to bring cash with you, as all the gas stations and stores in your area may not have the electrical and internet connections they need to run your cards. 

#4. Pack For Exploring Your Home

You also need to bring the right supplies with you for exploring your home. You should bring the following items with you:

  • Identification Card & Proof Of Address
  • Bottled Water
  • Flashlights
  • Extra Batteries
  • Portable Radio
  • Waterproof Boots
  • Work Gloves
  • Long Sleeved Shirt
  • Long Pants
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Toilet Paper
  • Camera

You may need to present your identification in order to be allowed to access your home if access is restricted in that area to residents only. You are going to want to bring a set of clothes just for exploring your house; the water may not have receded all the way yet and you may have to deal with water, mud and other obstacles.

Water and electrical services may be down, which is why you need to bring hand sanitizer and toilet paper with you.

Finally, you should document everything that you see when you visit your home for insurance purposes, which is why you need a camera. The pictures can also be helpful to show a flood and water damage company, like CDM Cesspool Service, before you hire them to help you clean your home. They can use the pictures to determine what kind of assistance you need. 

#5 Pack To Clean Up Your Home

While you are visiting your home, you are also going to want to get a jump start on the clean-up process. After you have photographed all of the damage in detail, you can start cleaning up your home. Due to all the dirt and contaminants that may be on your belongings, make sure you bring along plenty of gloves with you to assist you in the cleaning process. 

Plastic Containers

You are going to want to bring some plastic containers with you to put valuables in that have not been damaged by the flood and take them to somewhere safe. 

Trash Bags

You are going to want to bring lots of trash bags with you. There are going to be lots of items that are not salvageable and that you are going to need to throw away.

You should start in your kitchen and remove all the food that has been damaged or has been spoiled due to the loss of electricity.

Then, you should move through each room and throw away any items that are water logged, covered in mold, or just have been ruined.

#6. Bring A Map With You

Finally, make sure that you bring a map with you. Remember, cell service may be down. Even if you have lived in the area for a long time, a map could be useful as you try to get home. Certain roads that you usually travel may be closed, damaged or completely impassable. A map will help you find a safe alternative route to your house. 

Before you return to your home after a flood, make sure it is safe to do so and make sure that you have all the right supplies. During your first visit, spend some time packing up and saving valuable items that were not damaged, and take some time to throw away items that have been damaged as well as any food that has spoiled. After your first visit, put in a call into a flood and water damage cleanup company and let them know the state of your house and see how soon they can get out and help you with the cleanup.