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Post Flood Cleanup

VerbenaVerbena Registered User regular
edited September 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
I'm a long time lurker on these forums. I've always appreciated the community here and thought I'd turn to you in a moment of need for some advice. I live in upstate NY, near Binghamton, where a lot of flooding has occurred in the past two days. When we were evacuated from our house, the water had filled the basement and was about halfway up the garage, both cars were in there. Unsure yet if it got in the first floor. Going to try and go back on Friday when the water level gets down a bit more to check it out.

We got out fine otherwise and we moved what valuables we could to the upper floors.

I guess I'm just looking for some general advice on how the best way to proceed. We have FEMA flood insurance, but any advice on the order to do things? Best ways to clean up? People to contact? Any other tips? At this point if there is something I could be doing it would be good, since really all I can do is wait. Thanks for any help.

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    Crimson KingCrimson King Registered User regular
    I live in Brisbane, so this exact thing happened to me at the beginning of the year. We were lucky in that the water didn't quite come into the house; hopefully that'll be the case for you as well.

    There's not a lot you can do while you're waiting, unfortunately. You basically have to sit there in suspense and see what happens.

    If the water just comes into the basement and the garage, that's not that difficult a clean-up. We went in, picked up everything and moved it out onto the lawn, and went over every single thing we owned with a high-pressure hose to get all the dirt and shit out. Then we used the same hoses to clean all the shit off the concrete and pillars. We just washed it out into the garden; I'm not really sure how that works with a basement, I'm afraid. We had a lot under the house, so it took all day to get everything cleaned up, but we saved almost all our furniture and bikes and things. I cannot recommend these high-pressure hoses enough - they are amazingly useful and amazingly fun. They're called Gernis here but I have no idea what you'd call them.

    We were also lucky in that the whole community came together and really helped out. Ours was one of the few houses on the street to be flooded, and practically everyone we knew called up and asked us if they could help. We spent most of the time at the neighbours' house while we were waiting to get the electricity and internet back together and what-have-you. The whole city pulled together and just got to it - it was honestly the most amazing thing I've ever seen.

    If it's got into the house proper, that's harder, and you have to get rid of a lot more shit. Maybe take photos of it first, so you can prove to the insurance company what you've lost? I don't really know how American insurance would work. It's basically the same principle - take everything outside, throw out what's irretrievable and clean off what's not. You might find, even if it's inside, that there's a lot more salvageable then you might expect. A lot of our furniture, once we'd Gurni'd it, came out looking better then ever. Then it's just a matter of calling electricians and plumbers and things and asking them to solve your problems please. This will take a while, because they'll all be busy as hell, but eventually they'll get round to you.

    There's not really a lot you can do at the moment, I'm afraid, except wait it out and hope the water doesn't come up too far. I'm sure you've heard this before - you hear it a lot during floods - but it's just stuff, and what really matters is that you're all safe. The clean-up takes time and is a pain in the arse, but eventually you get past it, and now for us it's like it never even happened. So there's that.

    Good luck, and I hope it all works out for you.

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