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What to Do After a Flood

Flooding is one of the worst natural disasters that a real estate manager may have to deal with.
Here are some suggestions for how to avoid additional issues as you begin picking up the pieces after flooding on your property.

BEFORE ENTERING THE PROPERTY

  • Contact City Building Inspector or Fire Chief to verify if building is safe to enter
  • Inspect the building at the earliest opportunity to assess its condition
  • Do not go into a building if it is still flooded or if there is standing water next to the outside walls (the building may not be structurally sound)
  • Walk around the building and check for downed or loose power lines and gas leaks
    • Contact the appropriate utility company if observed
  • Before restoring power or beginning clean-up:
    • Check the foundation for cracks and examine overhangs for missing structural supports

UPON ENTERING THE PROPERTY

  • Turn off electricity at the main circuit breaker (if you can reach it without stepping in water, or call an electrician)
    • Avoid live wires and do not turn on electrical appliances until an electrician determines it is safe to do so
  • Turn off water supply if there are broken or leaking pipes
  • Wear sturdy shoes and watch out for flood-damaged materials

CLEAN UP

Flood Facts:
Are you covered?

  • Floods are the #1 natural disaster in the United States
  • Floods and flash floods happen in all 50 states
  • Most insurance does not cover flood damage
  • Hurricanes, winter storms and snowmelt are common (but often overlooked) causes of flooding
  • Water damage from hurricanes and other disasters is also not covered by standard policies
  • You are eligible to purchase flood insurance as long as your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program
  • State or federal disaster assistance is only available if your community is declared a disaster area

More information: www.floodsmart.gov

  • Engage disaster recovery contractors to minimize loss and fast-track restoration efforts
  • Pump out water gradually to minimize structural damage (e.g. one-third of the water each day for three days)
  • Check ceilings, walls and drywall for signs of sagging
    • Poke or drill a hole at the edge of the sagging area (away from electrical fixtures) to allow trapped water to drain
  • Cover holes in roof, windows and walls with boards, tarps or plastic sheets
    • Brace sagging floors and roofs with 4 x 4 boards
  • Circulate air throughout the building to reduce moisture and dissipate gas leaks
    • Use dehumidifiers and fans to speed up evaporation
    • Consult a professional to determine mold damage and remediation
  • Replace water sodden wallboard and insulation
  • Dry or remove clothing, bedding and other materials that may harbor mold or mildew
  • Replace or thoroughly dry appliances
  • Secure the property to guard against looters

INSURANCE

  • Call your insurance company. Check your policy for requirements about reporting a loss.
    • Complete initial incident report that captures the period immediately before and after the loss:
    • Document the damage – take photographs or video
    • List injuries, deaths, interactions with first responders, and actions taken by staff

RESOURCES

Download a copy of this What to Do After a Flood Checklist.