What to do in the first 24 hours after a disaster:
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After experiencing a disaster at your property in DFW, the recovery process can be exhausting both mentally and physically. You can always count on ServiceMaster Advanced Restorations to provide exceptional disaster restoration services in a timely manner to get your life back to normal quickly and efficiently. The first 24 hours after a disaster are typically the most challenging and overwhelming as you sort out how to get started.
The First 24 Hours
Secure Yourself and the Site
If any of your immediate needs are at risk, start by getting in touch with a local disaster relief organization such as as the American Red Cross. They can help provide for basic needs such as:
- Temporary housing
- Hygiene items
- Other essentials
After a fire, do not enter the damaged space, as a fire can sometimes respark from the embers. Prior to leaving your property the Fire Department will usually check that the water, electricity, and natural gas are safe to use, and turn them off in the event that they may not be. If you are unsure, ask. Consult a professional before having them turned back on. Look out for strucutral damage, especially damage to the roof or that may cause the floor to collapse. Anything edible or hygiene products exposed to the smoke, soot, heat, or water should be discarded.
Contact your insurance agent/company
Leaving Your Home
Contact your local police department to let them know the site will be unoccupied. In some cases it may be necessary to board up openings to discourage trespassers.
Beginning immediately, save receipts for any money you spend. These receipts are important in showing the insurance company what money you have spent related to your fire loss and also for verifying losses claimed on your income tax.
If it is safe to do so, try to locate the following items:
- Identification, such as driver’s licenses and Social Security cards
- Insurance information
- Medication information
- Eyeglasses, hearing aids or other prosthetic devices
- Valuables, such as credit cards, bank books, cash and jewelry
Flooding is becoming more commonplace – and more expensive. You can’t always stop it from happening but you can minimize its effects. Here are some tips to help you deal with a flood.
After the Flood
Play it safe: The dangers are not over when the water goes down. Your home’s foundation may have been weakened, the electrical system may have shorted out, and floodwaters may have left behind things that could make you sick. When in doubt, throw it out. Don’t risk injury or infection. Remember, flood water from an external source is classified as a category 3 (black water) loss and may contain numerous contaminates.
Take Care of Yourself: First protect yourself and your family from stress, fatigue, and health hazards that follow a flood.
Give Your Home First Aid: Once it is safe to go back in, protect your home and contents from further damage.
Stop the flow of water: This may include turning off the water supply and/or contacting a plumber.
Fresh water: Remove wet pad to allow carpet to dry. Carpet that is wet from clean water can usually be dried, cleaned and relayed over new pad.
Sewer backup: Remove areas of wet pad and wet carpet, taking caution to have proper personal protection. Areas connecting to, but not wet, should not be removed at this time. The claim representative will evaluate and provide specific instructions.
Get Organized: Some things are not worth repairing and some things may be too complicated or expensive for you to do by yourself. A recovery plan can take these things into account and help you make the most of your time and money.
Dry Out Your Home: Floodwaters damage materials, leave mud, silt and unknown contaminants, and promote the growth of mold. You need to dry your home to reduce these hazards and the damage they cause. Fans may be used to facilitate drying of the structure once all damage materials are removed and the home is properly sanitized. Furniture may be moved to dry rooms once cleaned or put on blocks to keep dry, assuming they are not considered unsalvageable.
Clean Up: The walls, floors, closets, shelves, contents and any other flooded parts of your home should be thoroughly washed and disinfected.