What to do when your home floods

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Real Estate

Many of our homes here in the flats of Hidden Valley Lake, California experienced some flooding from winter rains.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency offers the following tips for those affected by flood damage:

If you have flood insurance, call your agent to file a claim. Let your agent know your location if you have to leave your home.

Take photos of any water in the house and save damaged personal property. This will make filing your claim easier. If necessary, place these items outside the home. An insurance adjuster will need to see what's been damaged in order to process your claim.

Check for structural damage before re-entering your home. Don't go in if there is a chance of the building collapsing.

Do not use matches, cigarette lighters or other open flames upon re-entering your property. Gas may be trapped inside. If you smell gas or hear hissing, open a window, leave quickly and call the gas company from a safe place.

Keep power off until an electrician has inspected your system for safety.

Avoid using the toilets and the tap until you have checked for sewage and water line damage. If you suspect damage, call a plumber.

Discard food - including canned goods - that has come in contact with floodwaters.

Boil water for drinking and food preparation until local authorities declare your water supply to be safe.

Salvage water-damaged books, heirlooms and photographs using restoration tips from the National Flood Insurance Program. Visit www.fema.gov/hazard/flood/coping.shtm for information on salvage techniques and dealing with hazards such as mold.

Follow local building codes and ordinances when rebuilding. Use flood-resistant materials and techniques to protect your property from future flood damage.
Most home insurance policies do not cover damage from floods. Flood insurance is available from agents certified to offer policies under the National Flood Insurance Program, but policies must be obtained at least 30 days before an actual flooding event. For information on flood insurance and other information related to flooding, visit www.floodsmart.gov on the World Wide Web.