Play it safe. The dangers are not over when the water recedes. Your home's foundation, walls or ceilings may have weakened, the electrical system may have suffered damage - or floodwaters may have left behind things that can make you sick.
The Nine Steps of Flood Recovery:
Step 1. Take Care of Yourself First
- Protect yourself from stress, fatigue and health hazards. If you need food, clothing, shelter or referral to health care and social services call 2-1-1. To determine if you are eligible for federal government assistance visit DisasterAssistance.gov. To contact specific agencies:
- City of Los Angeles agencies: 3-1-1 or (213) 473-3231
- County of Los Angeles agencies: (213) 974-1234
- State of California agencies: (800) 807-6755
- Federal Government agencies: (800) 333-4636
- FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers: (800) 621-3362
- If evacuated, return home only when authorities indicate it is safe to do so. Dangers do not end when floodwaters recede. If there is any doubt about safety, have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before entering. Once certain it is safe to go inside, proceed carefully. Your damaged home is no place for small children or pets. While working to protect your home from further harm, be certain to maintain personal hygeine and use appropriate safety gear such as boots, rubber gloves and goggles. Don't hesitate to ask for help!
- Document every loss and expense. Take photos, keep receipts and contact your Insurance Agent. Some things are not worth repairing and other things may be too complicated or expensive to do by yourself. A recovery plan can take these things into account and help you make the most of your time and money.
- Floodwaters damage materials, leaving mud, silt and contaminants that can promote the growth of mold. You need to thoroughly dry your home to reduce these hazards and the damage they cause.
- Your work will be much easier if you have heat, electricity, clean water, and sewage disposal. We suggest these services be inspected and safely restored only by on-site utility workers, as quickly as possible.
- Official documents and family treasures can often be preserved with special care. Throw away food, including canned goods contaminated by flood water. Any flooded part of your home or household item that contacted floodwater should be thoroughly washed and disinfected. When in doubt, throw it out! Don't risk injury or infection.
- There are national and regional volunteer agencies, business and insurance services, as well as government disaster programs, loans and benefit guidance that can assist you through the claims process and recovery.
- Take time to rebuild with safety in mind. Make improvements that will protect your building from the next flood and other likely disasters. Never rush into settlements or contracts. Get bids and opinions only from reputable, established firms willing to provide clear proof of license, training and insurance. Don't hesitate to ask for multiple references and inspect previous work.
- Protect and prepare yourself for the next flood with flood insurance, a home inventory and family response plan that takes into account your community flood risk and protection programs.
We trust these Nine Steps of Flood Recovery will help you recover quickly and safely. If there is additional assistance that your firefighters can provide, please visit your Neighborhood Fire Station or call us via 3-1-1.
Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department