HOUSTON - If you're a first-time flood victim, we found some advice from victims of previous Houston floods to help out.
The following is advice from someone who went through Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and the Memorial Day Flood in Houston:
"Flooded friends! Try not to be discouraged. I know this is devastating, but you will get through this. I've been talking to a few different friends tonight asking me for tips. I don't know that I have a ton of great knowledge, but between Katrina and Memorial Day I've seen a lot.
- Please be safe. When time comes to clean up remember this is flood water. Use gloves. Wash hands frequently. Lots of hand sanitizer.
- Don't be discouraged by the huge mess. You'll want to just throw it out so it'll be over. Don't. Lots of stuff can be salvaged. Hardwood furniture will usually be OK after a few days in the sun. Then clean with Clorox wipes. Antiques will often fare better than you'd expect because they are more likely solid. Claim everything on insurance even if you save it. If floodwater touched it, you can claim it. Whether you keep it or not is up to you.
- Document everything. Don't throw anything away. You need to get rugs and carpets out for remediation, but put them in the back yard so your adjuster can see them.
- Document the water line. Sheetrock should come out at least 2 feet above the water line to prevent creeping mold.
- Document way more than your contents coverage allows. Insurance will depreciate stuff so make sure you get your full claim.
- Giant Rubbermaid bins are way better for storage than cardboard, especially if you want to try to stage from your garage.
- Giant contractor garbage bags are great. They are thicker, stronger and much bigger than regular garbage bags.
Also beware of looters. Do not leave anything in the front yard to dry, even up close to the house. It will walk away."
One other piece of advice: If there are items that have flood damage, but are still intact (kids toys, couches, etc), you might want to purposely damage them before you leave them out so passersby won't be tempted to take it and reuse it.
More helpful links:
How to help: http://bit.ly/2wYjr4w
How to mark yourself safe: http://bit.ly/2vtykqS
Where to find shelter: http://bit.ly/2xs2Xzb
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