Residents should be aware of safety risks both seen and unseen as they begin the re-entry process and start to assess the damage to their neighborhoods and homes. Remember, if your home was flooded you must take special precautions to have utilities restored like electricity and gas. Check out the information below for safety tips on re-entering your home after a flood. Check out a few Do’s and Do Not’s for Entering Damaged Property Below.
- Make sure the property is safe before you enter.
- Avoid direct contact with remaining standing water.
- Have a flashlight ready when entering your building.
- Before entering, turn off the electrical supply to your building at the breaker box. If there is evidence of water inside the breaker box or signs of electrical arcing, call and electrician and do not enter your building.
- If you have been able to turn off the electrical supply, unplug damaged electrical appliances (including dishwashers, washers, driers – anything you can unplug) and move any portable appliances away from flooded areas.
- Arrange for other services, such as gas, to be switched off. They should remain off until a professional has advised you that it is safe to turn them back on.
- If you have any doubts about safety, have your home inspected by a professional before entering.
- Check food and water supplies prior to consumption. Throw out all food that has been in contact with flood waters or spoiled. When in doubt, throw it out!
- Save any documentation of expenses associated with returning home and cleanup.
- Use candles to light up your property – they can be a fire hazard.
- Use any electrical appliances powered by plugs in your building until a registered electrician has told you it is safe to do so.
- Go near any exposed wiring – it may still be live.
What to Look for on Damaged Property
Checking your damaged property can be dangerous and upsetting. Take some time to review the checklist below for tips on how to check your damaged property.
- Begin with the exterior of the building and check from the ground up.
- Check foundations for any obvious signs of damage.
- Look for washouts around footings or cracks in walls that may indicate the foundation has settled.
- Use caution when removing debris from around footings as this may conceal displaced wildlife or deep washouts.
- Check for any damage to the roof or any loose debris that might fall.
- When checking a building’s interior, look for signs of water damage on floors, walls, and ceilings.
- Look for water marks on any surface, they are an indication of a damage.
Be sure to document all damage and take photos for use when contacting your insurance agent and FEMA.
Check out the Recovery Page on the Fort Bend County Office of Emergency Management website at http://fbcoem.org/recovery-resources/ for resources to help you recover from Hurricane Harvey.