Floods cause devastating damage and extensive loss each year in California and across the United States. Floods in homes, businesses, and other locations can be caused by pipe ruptures, sewage backups, and storms. Not only can floods cause physical injuries and even deaths, they can result in significant property loss, including the loss of cherished personal possessions. There are some strategies you can employ to save your cherished possesses after a flood.
Flood Fatalities in California and Across the United States
While the primary purpose of this article is to provide information about saving cherished possesses following a flood, information on flood fatality rates helps to put this type of weather loss into an understandable perspective. The U.S. National Weather Service provides comprehensive data on flood-related deaths in California and across the United States:
- 2019: U.S.A. – 93, California – 4
- 2018: U.S.A. – 84, California – 3
- 2017: U.S.A. – 180, California – 4 (the high number of fatalities in 2017 is because of major weather events in Texas)
- 2016: U.S.A. – 127, California – 0 (the bulk of the fatalities in 2016 were the results of weather events in Texas, Louisiana, West Virginia, and North Carolina)
- 2015: U.S.A – 189, California – 1 (the high number of fatalities in 2015 is because of major weather events in Texas, Missouri, and Nevada)
- 2014: U.S.A. – 41, California – 4
- 2013: U.S.A. – 82, California – 1
- 2012: U.S.A. – 29, California – 1
- 2011: U.S.A. – 113, California – 3
- 2010: U.S.A. – 104, California – 4
Planning for a Severe Weather Event
The best way to protect and save your cherished possessions from flood damage is to plan and take proactive steps whenever possible in advance of a severe weather event. There are weather events that allow for an advance warning. Hurricanes and some types of heavy rainstorms do allow for advanced warning.
When a significant weather event is anticipated, the ideal course to take to save your cherished items is to get them out of harm’s way as much as possible. If you are like most people, you do have items and objects that are important to you that can be moved out of the pathway of an approaching potentially flood-producing storm.
Rapid Response Is Fundamental
The most important step you can take to save your cherished items after a flood is to rapidly clean and dry them thoroughly. The ideal drying guideline is one in which the process is completed within 24 to 48 hours.
If you do not get certain types of items fully dried within a couple of days, these objects will more than likely need to be written off. For example, after a couple of days of being saturated with water, items will be facing the prospect of mold growth. The substance making up these objects will have sustained irreparable damage after being swamped with water for more than a couple of days.
Tough Decisions and Cutting Losses
One of the toughest parts of the process of saving cherished possessions after a flood is realizing what objects and items cannot be saved and identifying those that can be saved. The stark reality is that in most cases, not all property items – including particularly cherished ones – can be saved.
A common mistake made by people trying to remediate the aftermath of a flood on their own is establishing an objective of saving everything. The result of a person committed to saving everything is the creation of a situation in which the losses actually become greater.
By stretching resources and taking up valuable time trying to save everything after a flood, time is apt to run out. When that occurs, there are likely to be more objects beyond the point of no return and that are irreparable than is the case when certain objects are strategically identified for disposal.
Prime examples of objects that are likely to be irrecoverable in cases of flooding include:
- Some wood flooring
- Certain upholstery
- Electronic equipment
At the start of the flood damage cleanup process, you must make decisions about items that are highly likely to be irreparable. You need to block out time at the start of the cleanup process to remove such items from the premises. Again, the process of eliminating items that are important to you can be highly challenging. However, taking this vital step is vitally important when it comes to the greater good of saving as much of your property as possible, including items that mean a great deal to you.
Professional Water Damage Restoration
Because of the complicated nature of dealing with the aftermath of a flood, in most situations a person facing the prospect of remediating flood damage is advised to turn to a professional. A professional water damage restoration specialist has the background, tools, equipment, and other resources that are vitally necessary to comprehensive flood remediation, including saving cherished possessions.