Steps to Take in the First 24 Hours Following a Flood

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Flooding is cited as one of the largest threats to homes in the Montreal area, and whether it is caused by a home system malfunction, heavy rainfall, or groundwater, it’s important to know the steps to take should your home be affected. There are a number of best practices to follow in the first 24 hours following a flood, which will give you the best possible outcome with your insurance, and help to protect the integrity of your home.  These are described below:

Don’t Put Yourself at Risk

First and foremost, it’s important that you check your home for any risks from the exterior before re-entering your property.  This includes any structural damage, such as holes, cracks or warping.  If you suspect any damage to gas, electric, or sewer lines, you’ll also want to phone your utility companies before re-entering.  As soon as possible, turn off all electrical and water sources within the home; you can turn the electrics off via the main fuse box.

Upon entering your property, you also want to protect your health.  Wear hip or waist high rubber boots, and rubber gloves to keep yourself safe when handling contaminated items.

Take Photos and Call Your Insurance Company

Before clean-up can begin, you’ll want to take photos of any damage to your property to show to your insurance company.  Failing to take this step could result in you receiving a lower amount of compensation than you otherwise would.

You should notify your insurance company about what has happened as soon as possible following the flood.  Depending on what has caused the flood, there may be a lot of people in a similar situation, and you want to be as close to the top of the list as possible. Be aware, too, that not all homeowner insurance policies cover groundwater damage, so you may need to discuss this with your agent.  Be sure to follow your insurance company’s advice regarding what you can and can’t do before an adjuster is sent out.

Remove Water and Mitigate Mold

Finally, if you get the go-ahead from your insurance company, it’s time to start removing the water.  A sump pump can be purchased from most hardware stores for around $150, and a wet vac can be purchased for around $50.  Both will help.  You should also open doors and windows to enable fresh air to circulate.

Mold can begin to develop with 24-48 hours after a flood, so it’s important to mitigate this as much as possible.  Remove any wet items, such as bedding and carpets, as soon as you can, and use a non-ammonia or bleach solution to disinfect everywhere else.  Remember to photograph everything you remove for your insurance.  You can also hire a flood restoration service to tackle these tasks for you.

With all of the above complete, all that’s left to do is secure your property.  And remember, if your home isn’t habitable, you won’t be able to stay there.  If this is the case, contact your insurance provider for advice.

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