There are a number of factors to consider when you have severe flooding or storm damage affect your home or business. It is more than likely that you’re overwhelmed, uncertain of the health risks involved and trying to connect with your insurance agent to see what resources are available to you. At ServiceMaster Advantage, we’ve come up with a shortlist of precautions to be aware of when returning to your property in Houston:
Confirm that the water supply in your home or business is safe to drink.
News reports will let you know whether certain community’s water supplies have been contaminated due to the floodwaters. It’s a good idea to stock up on bottled water as well as get rid of any food products that would have come into contact with any floodwaters.
Wear protective clothing.
Wear galosh boots, gloves and even masks. It’s crucial that you clean, sanitize and disinfect anything the floodwater came into contact with.
Open all the windows and doors to your property so that air can circulate and begin the drying process. Dehumidify as soon as possible.
Check your sewage systems.
Damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits and leaching systems are very serious health hazards. Have them serviced as soon as you can.
Begin your list of lost and damaged possessions.
Include the age, value and description of all items damaged during the flood. If you have receipts for these items, that’s even better. Your insurance agent will ask you for this.
Isolate all items contaminated with mold.
Seal any mold trash in plastic bags and remove them from your property immediately. If you have objects you’re hoping to salvage that have been affected by mold, dry or freeze them as soon as possible. Freezing can deactivate mold.
Prevent further mold growth.
Any surface that was affected by floodwaters should be washed and disinfected.
These tips will help you get started on the recovery process for your property, but you will need a professional to properly dry and mitigate the severe water damage that has occurred. The structural integrity of your home or business’s foundation may be at stake and you will need the proper tools and equipment to thoroughly dry your property and belongings.
ServiceMaster Advantage is here to help. Call us 24/7; we’re standing by to help those in need in the Houston area.
Resources for Houston Residents
- Register for FEMA assistance: online or call 1-800-621-3362 / TTY 800-427-5593
- If you have questions or concerns about your flood insurance claim call:
- The National Flood Insurance Program Help Center at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or visit: www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program-technical-support-hotline
- Texas Disaster Fund – Provides assistance to individuals and communities recovering from a disaster
- Comptroller’s Disaster Relief Resources – Persons who have property in Texas that has been damaged by a disaster can claim an exemption from sales tax on labor charges and other benefits.
- Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs – Provides a subject list for survivors to use to find the appropriate assistance to meet their needs.
- USDA Farm Service Agency – Disaster Assistance Program – Provides assistance for natural disaster losses, resulting from drought, flood, fire, freeze, tornadoes, pest infestation, and other calamities.
- Texas Water Development Board – Administers State and Federal grant programs for flood protection planning, and implementation of flood mitigation projects.
- Texas Department of Insurance
- Your State Hazard Mitigation Officer, NFIP Coordinator, Earthquake Program Manager, Dam Safety Manager, and Floodplain Management Association contact information may be accessed by clicking on www.fema.gov/region-vi-mitigation-partners
- Texas A&M After Disaster Recovery Information
- Recovering from Disaster – Ready.gov
- Hurricane Harvey – Rumor Control – What You Need to Know
- Visit FEMA’s Flood Insurance Reform webpage (www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program/flood-insurance-reform) for information on the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 and other reforms.
- Communities may be eligible for Hazard Mitigation grants and loans, visit FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance webpage: www.fema.gov/hazard-mitigation-assistance
- Obtain a tailored list of assistance available on www.DisasterAssistance.gov
- Learn how to build safer and stronger and potentially decrease your flood insurance premiums, go to the FEMA Building Science Branch website. www.fema.gov/building-science
- For information about local building code and permit requirements, contact your local community officials.