How Do I Save Water-Damaged Property?
Be Safe, Then Act Quickly
Different sources such as salvage experts, property specialists and government agencies advise that quick action is critical. Many types of personal property can be saved if rescue attempts occur within 48 hours of the property suffering damage.
Before trying to save property, make sure that YOU are safe. Flooded buildings may have dangers that must be addressed. Make sure that there is no danger of electrocution by turning off power and avoiding fallen utility lines. Do not come in contact with water containing sewage and make sure the floor, ceiling and wall supports pose no danger. Tips On Handling Personal Property
Photographs – Remove from plastic/paper enclosures or frames, carefully rinse with cool, clean water, DO NOT touch or blot surfaces. Air dry: hang with clips on non-image areas, or lay flat on absorbent paper. Keep photographs from contact with adjacent surfaces or each other.
Paintings – Remove from frames in a safe, dry place. Do NOT separate paintings from their stretchers. Keep paintings horizontal and paint-side up with nothing touching the surface. Avoid direct sunlight.
Books – If rinsing is necessary, hold book closed. Partially wet or damp: stand on top or bottom edge with covers opened to 90° angle; air dry. Very wet: lay flat on clean surface; interleave less than 20% of book with absorbent material; replace interleaving when damp.
Paper – Air dry flat as individual sheets or in ¼” or smaller piles, with absorbent paper placed between each wet sheet (interleaving). Do not unfold or separate individual, wet sheets. Keep coated papers wet by packing in boxes lined with plastic garbage bags; freeze (maps or manuscripts), sponge water out, pack loose flat sheets in flat boxes or plywood covered with plastic sheets. If too many items for air drying: interleave (by groups or individually) with freezer or waxed paper; pack papers or files, standing up in sturdy containers; pack containers only 90% full and freeze.
Tapes – Disassemble case and remove tape; rinse dirty tapes, still wound on reel, in clean, lukewarm water; support vertically on blotting material to air dry; reassemble and copy.
Diskettes -Remove diskette from casing and bathe in clean distilled water, dry with lint-free towels and insert diskette into new casing and copy.
Clothing/Fabrics – Brush off all loose, dried dirt. Rinse thoroughly in cold water as soon as possible until as much mud as possible is removed. Repeat if necessary. Do not use hot water as it sets stains from red or yellow clay. Machine wash when no more dirt can be rinsed out.
Wood Furniture – Rinse/sponge surfaces gently to clean, blot, and air dry slowly. If any painted surfaces are blistered or flaking, air dry slowly without removing dirt or moisture. Weigh down or clamp veneers in place while drying; separate weight from veneer with protective layer. (Finishes may develop white haze; treat later with wood cleaning product.)
Upholstered Furniture – If antique or VERY valuable, get professional estimate on cleaning/restoring.
Metal – Use gloves to handle, rinse/sponge and blot metal object, air dry. If object has applied finish, do not clean. Air dry; keep flaking surfaces horizontal.
Leather (including shoes) and Rawhide – Rinse/sponge with clear water to remove mud, drain and blot to remove excess water, pad with toweling or unlinked paper to maintain shape, air dry. Manipulate tanned fur skins during drying to keep skins flexible.
Baskets – Rinse, drain and blot to remove excess water, stuff with clean paper towels or cotton sheets to retain shape and absorb stains, cover with clean towels and air dry slowly, regularly changing blotting material. Be Practical And Prioritize
Often it is impractical or impossible to try to save everything, so prioritize. Get to the property that is MOST important to you and start with the type of property that’s most vulnerable to permanent damage. One practical consideration is to forget about fully upholstered furniture and mattresses. Such property is usually impossible to properly dry and is often contaminated.
Who Needs Flood Insurance?
Do I Need Flood Insurance?
The simplest way to answer this question may be to walk to the nearest mirror. If the person you see in the mirror owns any significant amount of property that can be damaged or destroyed by water, then you should seriously consider buying flood insurance. Most persons may buy coverage offered by the National Flood Insurance Program. If your community doesn’t participate in the program, you’ll have to look into coverage from private insurance companies. What’s The Likelihood Of Suffering A Flood Loss?
The chances of your business, home or personal property being damaged by a flood depends primarily upon where you live. A flood loss also depends on other factors such as: how much of a flood warning you receive, the level of flood precautions that are taken by yourself (such as moving personal property from lower levels to higher levels), and the precautions taken by your community (such as the use of flood controls in construction standards or sandbagging threatened areas).
Since floods are related to weather conditions and tend to have widespread effects, your chances of a flood loss are significantly higher than experiencing many of the types of losses that are covered under your homeowner policy, such as fire or windstorms. Many people have the obsolete belief that flood insurance is only needed if you live in a flood prone area. I Live In A Flood Zone?!
If you have ever heard the term “flood zone,” you may think that it refers to locations that are particularly vulnerable to flooding. The truth is that, wherever you live in the USA, you live in a flood zone. While your area may have a lower chance of flooding than a coastal area or a location situated near a body of water, your area could still experience flooding. A very dry part of the country can be susceptible to flash floods; hilly locations may be harmed by drainage; snowy locations may suffer from heavy snow thaw; other areas may suffer deluges or flooding due to a heavy rain season which has soaked the surrounding soil. So, if you’ve insured yourself against fire, wind and other causes of loss, it certainly makes sense to also protect yourself from the potential of a flood loss. Why Worry When Disaster Coverage Is Available?
You may believe that, even if you suffer from a flood, your loss may be taken care of when the government declares your location to be a disaster area. However, you’re still taking a couple of large risks. First, your flooded locale may not be deemed a disaster area. Second, being designated as a disaster area is not a bargain. Disaster area status only gives citizens access to government disaster loans. IF you qualify for assistance, you have replaced insurance protection with an obligation to pay off a large, long-term loan. Is it worthwhile to gamble on an opportunity to pick up more debt? You’ll find flood insurance to be a cheaper and much more valuable alternative. Don’t Be “All Wet”
You don’t have to leave yourself unprotected. Your agent, an insurance professional, can help you with detailed information on the National Flood Insurance Program. You can also ask for help in getting the coverage you need to “keep dry” and secure in the face of a flood.