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Returning Home After a Flood: How to Stay Safe

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When floodwaters begin to rise to alarming levels and there is no sign of letting up, evacuation is often a necessary step that individuals and families must take to ensure their safety. It may take days, or even weeks, until one is able to return to their home. At this time, they may have no idea as to what condition their home remains in after the flood. Upon returning, there is no telling what other dangers might be lurking around as a result of the damage.

Still, homeowners must return to where they live, if for no other reason than to assess the damage and confer with their insurance companies. There are some necessary steps that flood victims must take as to further ensure their physical safety. There could be unexpected dangers on that street or an adjacent home that could contribute to bodily harm and even death. Continue reading to learn what you should do if your home becomes flooded to best avoid these dangers.

Do not return home until local authorities have given you the clear to do so. While a homeowner might get impatient to get back home and assess the damage that their home experienced in the flood, it’s not worth it if the area is not safe to navigate.

When traveling back to your home, be cautious of any roads where the water has receded. Floodwaters can weaken roads, making them dangerous.

Never touch floodwater. Floodwaters can contain waste, gasoline and oil, among a host of other contaminants that pose a risk to your health. They may also be electrified from downed power lines that have dipped into the water, which poses a significant risk of fatality.

Leave the home immediately if you smell gas or hear the hissing sound of gas being released into the air. If possible, turn the gas off from the exterior of the building before calling the gas company. Avoid using anything with fire or that could trigger a spark when inside or near the property.

Walk the perimeter of the home before entering it. Look for structural damage, and do not go into any building that does not look safe to enter.

Turn off the home’s electricity prior to working on cleaning any area of the residence.

One of the first things that you should do, before you work on remedying the damage caused by the flood, is call your homeowner’s insurance company. Their compassion and knowledge of your insurance policy will help you to recover from the floodwaters’ damage and move on with your life.