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Flood Safety Tips
Floods can be devastating. But there are many things you can do, both before and during a flood, to increase your chances of survival and possibly minimize your damages.
Before The Flood: After the flood:
  • Buy flood insurance. Homeowners insurance does not cover damage caused by flooding. You
    should contact your agent or Travelers representative about flood insurance. Or Request an eQuote! There is a 30-day waiting period for this policy to become effective, so don't wait until the water is rising.
  • Make an itemized list of personal property, that includes furnishings, clothing, and valuables.
    Photographs of your home (inside and out) will assist your insurance adjuster in settling claims
    and will help prove uninsured losses, which are tax deductible. Put the list and photos in your
    safe deposit box at the bank.
  • Learn the safest route from your home or place of business to high, safe ground if you should
    have to evacuate in a hurry.
  • Keep a portable radio, emergency cooking equipment, and flashlights in working order. Also
    keep extra batteries on hand.
  • If your home, apartment or business has suffered flood damage, immediately call the agent or company handling your flood insurance policy. An adjuster will be assigned to inspect your property as soon as possible.
  • Before entering a building that has been flooded, check for structural damage. Make sure it is not in danger of collapsing. Turn off any outside gas lines at the meter or tank. If you smell gas, call your utility company immediately.
  • When you enter the building, do not use an open flame as a source of light, since gas still may be trapped inside. Use a battery-powered flashlight.
  • Watch for downed electrical wires. Make certain that the main power switch is turned off. Do not turn on any lights or appliances until an electrician has checked the system for short circuits.
  • Cover broken windows and holes in the roof or walls to prevent further weather damage.
  • Proceed with immediate clean-up measures to prevent any health hazards. Perishable items pose a health problem and should be listed and photographed before discarding. Throw out fresh foods and medicines that have come in contact with floodwaters.
  • Water for drinking and food preparation should be used only if the public water system has been declared safe. In an emergency, water may be obtained by draining a hot water tank or melting ice cubes.
  • Take pictures of the damage to your building and contents. Refrigerators, sofas and other hard goods should be hosed off and kept for the adjuster's inspection. Use a household cleanser to clean items you'll be keeping. Any partially damaged items should be dried and aired. The adjuster will make recommendations concerning repair or disposal.
  • Take all wooden furniture outside to dry, but keep it out of direct sunlight to prevent warping. A garage or carport is a good place for drying. Remove drawers and other moving parts as soon as possible, but do not pry open swollen drawers from the front. Instead, remove the backing and push the drawers out. Shovel out mud while it is still moist, to give walls and floors a chance to dry.
  • Once plastered walls have dried, brush off loose dirt. Wash with household cleanser and rinse with clean water. Always start at the bottom and work up. Ceilings are done last.
  • Also, special attention must be paid to cleaning out heating ducts and plumbing systems. Mildew can be removed from dry wood with a solution of one cup liquid chlorine bleach in one gallon of water.
  • Clean metal at once, then wipe with a kerosene-soaked cloth. A light coat of oil will prevent iron from rusting. Scour all utensils and, if necessary, use fine steel wool on unpolished surfaces. Aluminum may be brightened by scrubbing with a solution of vinegar, cream of tartar and hot water.
  • Quickly separate all laundry items to avoid running colors. Clothing or household fabrics should be allowed to dry (slowly, away from direct heat) before brushing off loose dirt. Rinse the items in lukewarm water to remove lodged soil. Then wash with mild detergent; rinse and dry in sunlight.
  • Flooded basements should be drained and cleaned carefully. Structu