Pre-Flooding Safety and Damage Prevention
Rivers in central and western Montana are swelling and he possibility of flooding in homes and businesses is increasing. This situation results in real problems for homeowners and businesses as the damage that results from flooding is typically not covered by homeowners insurance policies. Water damage from broken pipes or hot water heaters that leak are often covered, but flood damage from rivers and ground water require a separate flood policy from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), to learn more about purchasing flood insurance, click here. Very few families and businesses in Montana have purchased flood insurance. This being the case, prevention of damage is very important, as well as properly handling damage to property in the event that it is affected by river water flooding.
Tips for Damage Prevention:
- Disconnect electric appliances such as computers, ovens, clothes dryers, televisions, and DVD players. Freezers and refrigerators should not be unplugged, alternate power sources may be required in the event that power to the structure is lost.
- Remove items of sentimental or high value from the property and secure them in a safe area. Examples include, photographs, memorabilia, firearms, jewelry, and family keepsakes.
- Move items that are on the floor, (pay special attention to closets and under beds) and put them high off the ground.
- Place pieces of Styrofoam or unstained wood blocks under furniture to prevent moisture from wicking up into the items or from furniture stain transferring to flooring such as carpet.
- Identify the location of electrical and gas shut-off valves, if the property is affected by flood waters, you will want to turn off these utilities before re-entering the home.
Tips for After-Flooding Damage Restoration:
- Safety first! Many hazards are present after flooding including electrocution, slip and fall, chemical and biological contaminates, unstable structures, falling debris, and many others. Take proper precautions before entering, when in doubt, call a professional for assistance and evaluation.
- Don’t pump water into your septic system, it is likely already full and contaminated water can back up into your home.
- Pump standing water out of the home.
- All porous materials that have been saturated with river water should be removed and discarded in a landfill. This includes drywall, carpeting, carpet cushion, and insulation.
- Semi-porous materials such as lumber, concrete, some plywood, and brick must be treated with a disinfecting cleaner and then thoroughly washed to remove silt and debris.
- Prior to any repair, the remaining structural materials must be thoroughly dried and tested to ensure that the moisture content is not elevated. Improperly dried materials can result in additional damage including fungal and microbial growth.
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