CARE FOR YOUR HOME
Check your house before you go in. If there is standing water against the outside walls of the house, don't go in. Walk carefully around the outside and check for loose power lines and gas leaks. Check the foundation for cracks or other damage. Exmine porch roofs and overhangs. Look for gaps between the steps and the house.
1. Make sure it is safe to go back into the structure. Flood water can have more than one crest. Be sure the the flood water is going down and doesn't just look like it is receding. Stay tuned to radio or TV for updates. Go inside carefully. If the door sticks, it is probably swollen. It it only sticks at the bottom, it can be forced open. If it sticks at the top, your ceiling may be ready to fall. If you force the door open, wait outside the doorway for a few minutes in case something falls.
2. Dress accordingly. Wear sturdy shoes or boots and gloves.
Things You Will Need:
- First aid kit
- Battery operated radio or TV
- Hard hat
- Dust mask
- Camera or video camera
- Crowbar, hammer, saw, pliers, crescent wrench, screw drivers etc.
- Drinking water
- Trash Bags
- Wooden stick to turn things over, scaring away animals and moving electrical wires.
- Cleaning supplies
3. Turn off the power even if the power company has turned off power to the area. You never know when the power company may turn the power back on. Do not step in water to get to the electric box. Call an electrician.
4. Turn off the gas. You may have a gas leak due to moved or sroken pipes. If you smell gas leave immediately and call the gas company from a neighbor's house. Turn off the gas only if the gas meter is outside. Before re-connecting gas appliances you will need to clean the mud our of the pilot and burners.
5. Check the ceiling for signs of sagging. Wet wallboard or plaster is very heavy and dangerous if it falls.
If The Ceiling Is Sagging:
- Make a poker by attaching a nail or other pointed object to the end of a long stick.
- Stand away from the sag.
- Poke a hole in the ceiling at the edge of the sag so any trapped water can begin to drain. Do not start at the center of the sag because the ceiling may collapse.
- After the water drains, poke another hole lower down. Keep poking holes as you move to the lowest point.
- Tear down the sagging ceiling. It will be very heavy.
6. Step very carefully. Water and mud make surfaces very slippery. Watch for snakes or other animals, loose flooring, holes and nails. Be careful of cabinets and other tall furniture that may be ready to fall over. Remove mirrors and large pictures from the walls.
7. Rescue your valuables. Wash the mud off of money, jewelry, important papers, pictures, and family heirlooms before they dry. Put valuables in a safe place or take them to another house. Some articles such as photographs and books can be frozen and cleaned later. Clean them off before freezing in a plastic bag.
8. Do not stop and clean everything you pick up. It is more important to protect your home, assess the damages and plan your recovery.
9. Protect your home from further damage. Get fresh air moving through the house. Open windows and doors. Do not try to force open swollen glass.
10. Patch holes. Cover holes in the roof, walls or windows.
11. Repair sagging floors or roof sections. Use 4 x 4's or other heavy lumber to brace weak areas.
12. Remove debris. Tree limbs or other trash that may have landed on or floated into the house should be cleared away.
13. Check for broken or leaking water pipes. If found, cut off the water supply by turning off the valve at the water meter.
14. Drain your basement carefully. Don't pump it out too soon. Water in the ground outside your house is pushing hard against the outside of your basement walls. The water inside is pushing back, this may be holding the walls up.