Floods are one of the most devastating natural disasters, leaving behind a trail of destruction and despair. While safeguarding human life is the priority, another important aspect that comes into focus post-flood is salvaging your valuables. This guide will delve into the steps you can take to save your cherished items after a flood.
The Immediate Aftermath
Before attempting to recover any valuables, it’s crucial to ensure that it’s safe to enter your property. Make sure the floodwaters have receded and check with local authorities for the all-clear signal.
Wear protective gear such as rubber gloves, waterproof boots, and face masks to protect yourself from contaminants present in floodwater.
Assess the Damage
Upon entering your property, take photographs of the damage to your home and belongings. These can serve as evidence for insurance claims.
Documents and Paper Items
Place water-damaged documents and photographs in a freezer, separated by wax paper, to prevent them from sticking together. This will buy you time until you can get to professional restoration.
Turn off the power and unplug electrical devices. Wipe down the outer parts with a dry cloth and leave them to air dry completely. Do not attempt to turn them on until you’re sure they’re fully dry.
Jewelry and Metal Items
Rinse metal valuables with clean water and use a soft brush to gently scrub away dirt. Place them in a dry, cool spot to air dry. Silver items should be polished to prevent tarnishing.
Fabric and Textiles
Wash fabric-based items like clothing and curtains in hot water to kill bacteria. Dry them thoroughly in the sun or using a dryer set at high heat.
Furniture and Wood Items
Wooden furniture can be salvaged if acted upon quickly. Remove drawers and back panels to allow for adequate air circulation. Use fans and dehumidifiers to speed up the drying process.
Seek Professional Help
For some items like antiques, artwork, or heirlooms, it might be best to consult professional restorers to prevent further damage.
Contact your insurance provider as soon as possible to file a claim. Provide them with the photographs and any other evidence of damage.
Although the experience of surviving a flood is harrowing, quick and thoughtful actions can help in salvaging your valuables. With the right information and steps, you can mitigate losses and hold on to items that are both monetarily and emotionally valuable. Remember, safety should be your utmost priority throughout this process.
Stay prepared, and stay safe.