A flash flood is any flood that develops within six hours of their inciting incident. They usually happen during severe storms, when rain falls so fast it the ground can’t absorb it. Texas is especially vulnerable to sudden and severe flash flooding. In fact, flash floods are the leading cause of weather-related death in Texas.
As a Texas homeowner, it’s important to know what to do in case of dangerous flash floods. Next time you’re concerned about the possibility of flooding, follow each of these steps.
Make sure you’re safe
First things first: make sure you and your family are safe. Flash floods become overwhelming very quickly. The moment you see a flash flood warning, you should find high, safe ground.
If you need to leave your home due to flooding, there are certain things you should consider before re-entering. Be very careful to check for structural damage. Do not enter the building and contact your utility companies if you notice gas, plumbing, or electrical damage. Never enter a flooded home before turning the water and electricity off.
Take pictures of everything
You will need as accurate and exhaustive a documentation of damage as possible for your insurance company. Most insurance companies prefer digital photos and videos, because they’re easier to store, copy, and transfer. Do not make any repairs or remove water from your home before you photograph the scene.
Throw away anything that has been contaminated
Just because the water that’s entered your home is clear doesn’t mean that it’s safe. Flood water could contain all kinds of household chemicals or sewage, even if it looks clean. Don’t risk you or your family’s health. Wear rubber gloves when removing any wet possessions, and throw out any food or medicine that has become submerged.
Call your insurance company
First things first: don’t be surprised if your insurance agent is busy juggling multiple responsibilities. Unfortunately, flash floods tend to affect a lot of people at once.
Tell your agent about the state of your home in as much detail as possible. Let them know if there are any repairs you plan on doing right away. Follow their direction, document every step of the process, and be communicative.
Start the recovery process
The first step here is to get the water out. Remember: do not interact with flood water until you’re absolutely sure it is safe to do so. Turn off the gas, plumbing, and especially the electricity. Make sure there aren’t any dangerous items floating in or submerged beneath the water. Be very careful to watch where you step if you can’t see your feet in the water. Wear safe clothing such as waterproof boots, gloves, and waders.
You’ll need a water pump and a wet vac. These tools will help you get the physical water out and then pull moisture out of flooring it’s seeped into. Open your doors and windows to let fresh air help speed up the process. Get wet possessions out right away and use fans to help dry things that have been deemed salvageable. As you’re removing water, look for damage or signs of mold growth. Mark them down somewhere so you know to deal with them later.
Most home floods happen because of natural causes, but not all of them. Sometimes, extreme plumbing problems can flood your home, too.
When that’s the case, call the punctual plumbers at Ben Franklin Plumbing in Dallas before following any of the other steps on this list. We’ll help solve the problem and set you on the path to recovery right.