Functional Friday: 10 Things To Know About Flooding

Flash flooding can happen anywhere. Any location that might collect water and drain after a strong shower can flood.

Never walk or drive through moving water.Submerged debris, strong currents and compromised bridges and roadways claim the lives of flood victims every year.  Stay away! Evacuate before you are stranded or seek the highest ground you can find without crossing water.

Avoid standing water, as well. Flood waters contain chemicals and bacteria picked up from sewers and storage tanks. Even in still water, submerged items and compromised ground can present unseen hazards.

If you evacuate, don't count on going back soon. Take everything you plan to need for weeks.  Take your pets, medications, and other important items. Even if they advise a short time frame, there are no guarantees with flooding.

Flood insurance is available even if you don't live in a flood plain.Call your agent for details. Also, flood insurance doesn't include sewer backup.

Never enter standing water in your home, and plan to leave your home if it fails to drain immediately. Once the water rises to sufficient levels, it could contact electric wiring, hazardous chemicals, sewer backup, or even extinguish gas/propane pilots.

When the water recedes, you have about three days to get fabrics and absorbent materials clean and dry, or they must be disposed of.  Contaminants, mold and mildew cause a great health risk.  Get furniture and carpet professionally cleaned or pull it out immediately.  Launder clothes and fabrics.  Consult with local authorities and experts for your local situation before beginning.  Drywall and voids (like under the floor) often need powerful fans to dry these areas quickly.

Flood plains and building zones and codes are often reset immediately after a local flood.  Check with your city hall or flood recovery office before beginning expensive rehab.  Three weeks after the Nashville area floods of 2010, the rehab construction project that I worked on was halted and canceled.  After the first inspection, the location was no longer approved for new construction. All our work and expense was for naught.

Don't expect businesses to reopen soon.  Local flooding often affects business owners' homes as well, and they must care for their family first.  Many times receipt of inventory is slowed, too.  And many businesses never recover from the financial strains caused by lost revenue and weighty recovery costs.

Talk to your insurance agent before, during, and after a flood (or other disaster) to confirm exactly what is covered, what is out of pocket, what is reimbursable. Be creative with you questions.  Imagine and list every item and expense you need covered.  (Temporary hotel? Business supplies in garage? Jewelry? Work you do yourself? Recommended mitigation steps?)

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