We recently received pictures from a woman in Massachusetts whose first floor -- including her living room, kitchen and half bath -- were under 6 inches of water for over 24 hours following massive rain storms. She -- like many others facing similar circumstances -- is somewhat at a loss as to the next steps to take. So we have compiled some tips and links for anyone facing similar issues.
Document the Damage: Fortunately, she took pictures of the property during the flooding, has been in touch with her insurance company and she's had both an insurance agent and a FEMA agent out to her property to assess the damages. These are important first steps to take.
Look into Assistance Programs: One question she asked us regards federal assistance programs. Information on low-interest loans used to deal with residential losses not covered by insurance can be found on FEMA's website. There's a specific site for Federal Aid Programs for Massachusetts Disaster Recovery, which details all the help available to a homeowner.
If you are in a county designated for assistance, you can begin the application process online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362 (1-800-462-7585 for the hearing and speech impaired).
The website FloodSmart.gov has some good flood recovery advice, which includes boiling water for drinking and food preparation until authorities advise that the water is safe and removing the wet contents of the home immediately to prevent mold growth.
Start the Drying Process: Get rid of all standing water and start the process of drying your belongings out immediately.
The Federal Alliance for Safe Homes has its own website detailing the steps to take to prevent mold growth after a flood. Some of the steps include running the AC, opening windows for ventilation and sunshine, running fans to increase circulation of air and contacting an emergency water removal company immediately to determine if professional water removal and mold remediation is necessary.
Additionally, here's a short piece on Flood Damage Cleanup that we encourage you to read. It's important to follow these steps to safely clean up and rid the home of moisture.
Our thoughts are with those dealing with the flooding from last week. We wish them all a speedy and safe recovery.