Although a hurricane’s power is typically measured by its winds, the storm surge and resulting flooding can be destructive and even more deadly. If you’ve evacuated before your house floods, don’t return until authorities say it is safe. If you’re in your house when it starts flooding, go to its highest level. Don’t enter a closed attic because you can be trapped by rising floodwater. Only get onto your roof if absolutely necessary and signal for help once you’re there.
Once you are safe, knowing what to do after a hurricane has passed can be just as important as pre-storm preparations.
Here are some steps to take to protect yourself and your property after flooding from a hurricane.
What to Do If Your House Floods During a Hurricane?
In addition to high tides and storm surges, rainfall from a hurricane can cause your home to flood. Of course, if your home is actively flooding, you should evacuate if you can. The following steps are important both during and after a hurricane.
1. Wear protective shoes and clothing
If your house is flooding, don’t walk around barefoot. Wear rubber boots or shoes with rubber soles to protect yourself from debris and contaminants in flood water that can injure you or make you sick. For the same reason, wear protective clothing and heavy work gloves if you have them, especially during the cleanup process.
If you evacuate and then return to a flooded house, you should still wear protective shoes and clothing, even if the water has receded.
2. Cut off the power, gas, and water
If you’re in your home when it begins to flood, unplug all electrical cords from outlets in case the water rises over the outlets. If you think the water will rise above them, turn off the electricity at the breaker.
If you weren’t in your home when it flooded, turn off your electricity, gas, and water. As soon as you are able to. This is especially important if the water has reached the height of your electrical panel, switches, or outlets. Don’t touch any electric appliances or light switches until your power is off. Once it is, unplug electronic appliances and devices.
3. Protect important documents
Move your most important documents like birth certificates and passports where they will not get wet, or take them with you if you’re leaving. If any important documents, photos, or books are already wet and you don’t have time to dry them within the first 48 hours, put them into plastic bags and into a freezer. This will prevent the growth of mold and mildew. Then you can defrost, separate, and air-dry the documents when you have time after the flooding has passed.
4. Empty your fridge
If your power has been knocked out during the storm, dispose of all food in your refrigerator. Food can grow harmful bacteria after only two hours at room temperature, so it’s not worth the risk to save it.
If you’ve been gone for several days, wear a filter mask if you have one and gloves to protect yourself from odors and mold or insects on rotten food.
5. Move electronics with extreme caution
When your house is just beginning to flood, move all electronics to the highest level of your home if you can. However, if electric appliances are already wet or you’re standing in water, don’t touch them.
6. Open windows and doors
To reduce pressure and the potential for busted windows and doors during a hurricane, open a window or door on the opposite side of your house, facing the wind. Then stay away from all windows.
Once the storm is over, keep as many windows and doors open as you can when you’re home to dry out remaining water and moisture and prevent mold growth. You should also open interior doors, especially closets, as well as kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanity drawers. If you can, remove drawers, wipe up any water, and stack them to dry.
7. Avoid flood waters
During flooding, water levels and the speed at which the water is flowing can change quickly, so you should avoid flood waters at all costs. Monitor local radio and television and evacuate immediately when water starts to rise.
To reiterate, don’t walk or drive through flood waters. It only takes 6 inches of moving water to knock you off your feet. Water can be deeper than it appears and contain sharp debris, electrical wires, chemicals and other harmful contaminants, etc.
When you’re inside, don’t go into any room where water is covering electrical outlets or cords are submerged. If you see sparks or hear buzzing, crackling, snapping, or popping noises, leave immediately.
8. Call for help
Once all members of your household are safe and on dry ground, call for help. If anyone needs medical attention, call 911. When everyone is safe and settled, you can begin making calls to begin your home’s restoration process.
If you rent, call your landlord and let them know what’s happened. If you’re a homeowner, call your insurer and explain that your home has been affected by water damage. Ask whether you need to wait for an adjuster to visit your home before you begin the cleanup and repair process.
FAQ: How do floods happen?
Floods can result from rain, storm surges, and overflows of dams and other water systems. They can occur slowly or quickly and without warning. Unless you are near a river or a creek, most rising water will not enter through your doorways. It enters through ground saturation, which means it will come from everywhere at once.
Contact DriRite for Emergency Flood Services in Tampa
When you need 24/7 water damage cleanup and restoration services after flooding, contact the experienced water damage team at DriRite. We use industry-leading technology to reduce as much damage as we can, and we also provide mold remediation, reconstruction, and other services to protect your health and restore your property to its pre-flood condition.
Chief Executive Officer
Mike Campbell is a highly experienced professional specializing in structural drying, mold remediation, and environmental consulting. With certifications such as OSHA HAZWOPER, council-certified microbial remediator, and state of Florida licensed mold remediator, he offers tailored solutions to clients at DriRite. With specialized training from the IICRC, Mike is equipped with advanced skills in categories such as applied structural drying, commercial drying, and water damage restoration. This expertise allows him to deliver comprehensive and effective solutions to water-related issues. His dedication to providing exceptional service and expertise makes him a valuable resource in the field.
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