What To Do in the First 24 Hours After a Flood

Avoid Additional Risks

Upon returning to your home, check for any visible structural damage like warping, loosened or cracked foundation issues, and contact utility companies if you suspect damage to water, gas, electric and sewer lines.

In addition, it’s important to have a working flashlight and turn off all water and electrical sources within the home. Locate the fuse box and switch the main power and individual fuse connections so that if power is reactivated you’re not at risk for mixing standing water and electricity.

Contact Your Insurance Company, Mortgage Company and Disaster Relief Authorities

Contact your insurance agent or your company’s headquarters to begin the claims process. Contact your mortgage company and request a “hold” or “stay” on your monthly payments. Interest may still accrue, but your finances may need the extra room. To register for Disaster Assistance, visit www.disasterassistance.gov


Document Everything

Before you remove any water or make any repairs, fully document the damage for your insurance by taking photos or videos.

  • Keep any and all receipts of extra expenditures.
  • Make an itemized list of all property lost or destroyed and get receipts or proof of purchase if possible.
  • Track wasted food items.


Cleaning and Repairs

Clear standing water with a wet-vac or water pump, available at hardware stores. All porous and damp materials should be removed. Remove traces of mold using a solution of one cup Borax to one gallon of hot water. For more information on cleaning household items, including clothes after a flood, click here.


During times of natural disasters, we often see an influx of contractors servicing the area. As always, be sure to check with the Better Business Bureau and authorities such as the Capital Region Builder’s Association and National Home Builder’s Association to thoroughly vet your contractor. Make sure your contractor and subcontractor have the proper licenses to operate and insurance for personal liability, worker’s compensation and property damage coverage. For more information on hiring a reliable contractor and avoiding scams, click here.


Locating Individuals in Shelters