The Storm Did Not Even Have a Name
Most people are getting an idea of the devastation that unprecedented rain brought to 20 parishes on August 12th, and visits by Trump and Obama will remind us that this was a 1-in-1,000 chance of happening and nobody could predict that every river between Hammond and Baton Rouge would flood (Amite, Vermilion, Calcasieu, Comite, Mermentau, Pearl, Tangipahoa, Tchefuncte, Tickfaw, and Bogue Chitto). Over 20,000 people were evacuated, 200 roads closed and over 100,000 homes damaged, with St. Helena Parish the most devastated where only 1% of residents carried flood insurance. Real estate in flood zones B, C and X qualify for standard or preferred rates which usually ranges from $350 to $2,500 annually, and flood zone designations A and V pay more.
Brownie, We’re Glad You’re Not Here
FEMA is on the ground now visiting damaged homes and processing 102,000 claims with aid per house up to $33,000 but each can can be different. You might have a 4 bedroom home but if only 2 people live there, you will only receive aid for a 2 person house. For homeowners, it can feel like a deer caught in headlights, and you just don’t know what to do. This article outlines what victims of flooded property need to do right now, and what it will cost, as told by a Katrina survivor.
Flooded? What To Do Right Now
When you home gets flooded, it can be overwhelming. There is so much devastation that you don’t know where to begin. The first thing to do is to call all your friends and ask for help, since this is no time go it alone. You will be amazed at how word can get around and friends will come to the rescue. Here is a list of what you need to ask people to bring you:
Once you have your supplies, start with the highest priority tasks. Have your insurance adjuster examine your property, take lots of photographs, and file a claim with FEMA as soon as possible. Save financial records, photographs, appliances. Everything wet that is salvageable must go outside to dry, all else throw away.
First Things First
- Pull up all wet wood flooring or carpet and discard. Mold can set in within 24-48 hours.
- Cover salvageable furniture with sheets.
- All wet trim and sheetrock has to be pulled out and discarded into 3 mil black trash bags in Brute cans on wheeled dollies. One person should have the job of taking bags of wet sheetrock outside and refilling trash cans with bags. Break up the sheetrock into small enough pieces so they fit into the trash bags. Get a ruler and mark a line on every wall at least 24 inches from the floor, or high enough to mark where the wet sheetrock stops. Snap a chalk line or use a level to draw a line. Use a box cutter knife or drywall jab to cut out the wet sheetrock. Pull out trim nails with pliers and remove drywall screws.
- Broom out large chunks of debris and insulation.
- Wet/Vac out water and remaining debris from studs.
- Once exposed, studs are clean and free of debris and insulation, spray with bleach 25% mixture, then place institutional carpet blowers near exposed walls to dry out studs. Let fans and blowers run 24/7. Studs should be dry in 2-3 days.
- Pull out all wet kitchen and bath base cabinets and store outside to dry, if possible, remove cabinet doors for ventilation.
- Soak up standing water with with cotton head mop and clean floors often with sponge mop, so as not to track sheetrock dust to other rooms. Dust does not mop up by itself, so use ZEP Floor Cleaner.
For more information on flood zone designations, read our recent article: Everything You Need To Know About Reading A Flood Insurance Map