Living through a flood is an exhausting experience, emotionally and physically. You may very well feel as though you are being pulled under and drowning in the soggy collapse of your life. Although there will be difficult days ahead, you and your family will recover and be stronger and wiser than before.
Flooding is the number one natural disaster in the United States. Not really a comfort, is it? But it does mean that you are not alone and there is help all along the way. Before you do anything else, be thankful for the wet blessings you have. Take a few minutes to actually tell your family and friends you are thankful for them. Encourage one another to look for blessings. Finding a photo or favorite shoe that survived the flood is worth celebrating. Giving a child or someone the task of writing down blessings for the day and it will become a journal of your recovery and will help you to see how far you have come when you are discouraged.
- Take care of yourself. There will be a lot of work ahead. Eat right. Get rest. You cannot make decisions, remember all you need to remember, or deal with others if you are fatigued. Allow for breaks. There will be moments that are overwhelming for you and others. Take a few minutes to regroup and allow others to have their moments. Talk together but don’t allow yourself to be pulled under discussing the same things over and over. Be careful what you say, even to yourself. Try to establish a routine that works for everyone. Children, especially, and others too will be able to cope better with a routine or knowing what to expect next. Do what you can. Don’t do what you can not. Work with others.
- Stay healthy. The process of cleaning up can be dangerous. Do not go in your flooded home unless you know it is safe. Electrical appliances or switches that you automatically turn on can cause electrocution or short-out and start a fire. Think before you touch anything. Wear protective clothing: gloves, masks, etc. depending on what you are doing. Make sure you have clean water for drinking and washing. Do not try to save everything. Some items in your home look okay as they dry out, but consider that they might have been exposed to various contaminates. Raw sewage is often carried in floodwaters. Poisons and bacteria are not something you can see. Consider the items carefully. Can they be replaced? Do you need them at all? Protect your family and keep them healthy.
- Make lists.
Keep a list of friends and their phone numbers that offer help. You may need a babysitter, a soccer practice “taxi”, someone to help with laundry, or a multitude of reasons you never thought of before.
- Make a list of contacts you will probably be calling more than once; cleaning companies, insurance representatives, electrician, contractors, etc.
- Make a list of medications and other necessary items that you will need immediately.
- Make a schedule for everyone to see. Even if you know it will be changing. Have a place where others can see it and add to it like a central command center. Take one day at a time.
- Be willing to begin again. Surprisingly, after a traumatic event like this, many people see things differently than they did before. What was important before the flood may now seem trivial. Learn from this experience and be more prepared for the future. One flood survivor realized she had accumulated a lot of unnecessary stuff. As they recovered, she got rid of things, replaced necessary items with things that were easy to care for and less likely to be damaged in a flood (flooring). Her home is as lovely as ever. She, on the other hand has more time and money for other things and she is thankfully enjoying her freedom from her previously cluttered and complicated life.
- These thoughts are to help you face that daunting physical job ahead. Having a positive attitude is possible and will help you to do what needs done. Be aware that there will be feelings of despair ahead, possibly even after repairs have all been made. Take care of yourself and realize you have much to be thankful for.
If you own a business or commercial building that has been affected by flooding or water damage, contact us regarding our flood damage clean up and restoration services.