The Nine Steps of Flood Recovery

Wednesday, December 22, 2010 |

Though your home and contents may at first appear hopeless after a flood or mudslide, many of your belongings can be restored. If you do things right, your flooded home can be cleaned, dried out, rebuilt and reoccupied sooner than you think!

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 To contact specific agencies:
Step 2. Give Your Home First Aid
    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!
Step 3. Get Organized
    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.
Step 4. Dry Out Your Home
    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.
Step 5. Restore the Utilities
    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.
Step 6. Clean Up
    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.
Step 7. Check on Financial Assistance
Step 8. Rebuild and Floodproof
    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.
Step 9. Prepare for the Next Flood
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


LAFD Media and Public Relations said...

For a printable 56 page guide full of great tips regarding flood and mudslide recovery, please click here (740KB PDF).

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

Brian Humphrey
Public Service Officer
Los Angeles Fire Department

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