When tragedy strikes, it can be nearly impossible to think straight and put together a plan. Hopefully you won't ever need this, but if you do, here's some important information to help get the recovery process started after a flood.

With the weather Acadiana, Lake Charles, Baton Rouge, and other parts of Louisiana went through yesterday, and with more rain on the way, flooding has caused serious problems for thousands of people.

Once the flood waters subside, its time to begin the recovery process, and here are the proper steps to take.

What to Do After Your House Has Flooded

From ci.patterson.ca.us

1. Turn off the electricity at the main breaker or fuse box, even if the power is off in your community. That way, you can decide when your home is dry enough to turn it back on.

2. If you're in need, The Red Cross can provide you with a cleanup kit: mop, broom, bucket, and cleaning supplies.

3. Contact your insurance agent to discuss claims.

4. If you hire cleanup or repair contractors, check references and be sure they are qualified to do the job. Be wary of people who drive through neighborhoods offering help in cleaning up or repairing your home.

5. Keep children and pets away from hazardous sites and floodwater.

American Red Cross Flood Recovery Information

The American Red Cross also has great information.

1. Wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and rubber boots, and be cautious when cleaning up.

2. Be careful when moving furnishings or debris, because they may be waterlogged and heavier.

3. Throw out all food, beverages, and medicine exposed to floodwaters and mud. When in doubt, throw it out. This includes canned goods, plastic utensils, baby bottle nipples, and containers with food or liquid that has been sealed shut.

4. Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits, and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewage systems are health hazards.


FEMA Flood Insurance Claims Manual and Tips

When it comes to filing an insurance claim, here's some great information from FEMA.

1. Clearly, the first step is contacting your insurance company to file a claim.

2. Your next step is to document the damage. Take photographs of all of the damaged property, including discarded objects, structural damage, and standing floodwater levels.

3. Make a list of damaged or lost items and include their date of purchase, value, and receipts, if possible.

4. Officials may require disposal of damaged items so, if possible, place flooded items outside of the home.

5. Next, compile a "Proof of Loss" document (which is your sworn statement of the amount you are claiming including necessary supporting documentation) for your official claim for damages. A Proof of Loss can be many things but must contain the specific details set forth in the Standard Flood Insurance Policy. You'll need to file your Proof of Loss with your insurance company within 60 days of the flood. This document substantiates the insurance claim and is required before the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or insurance company can make payment.

You can learn more about filing an insurance claim over at fema.gov.

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