If your home was flooded, advice from someione who has been there

Discussion in 'BlackHat Lounge' started by Techxan, Oct 30, 2012.

  1. Techxan

    Techxan Elite Member

    Dec 7, 2011
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    TEXAS (you have to yell, its the law.)
    My heart and hope goes out to everyone who has been affected by storm. When TS Alicia came thru Houston, we had 5 feet of water in the house. From experience, I an offer advice.

    Get wet carpet pulled out as fast as possible, especially f you have hardwood floors. Letting the water sit on the floors will cause the wood to swell, and it can push the side of the house off the foundation. gte the carpet up and put blowers on the floors to blow them dry. On high humidity days, place fans in windows and point them OUT,on low humidity days, point the fans IN. You must pump wet air out and dry air in. If you place fans blowing into your house on high humidity days, you will add to the moisture that must be removed. Blow dry air in and wet air out.

    If you have insurance, you will deal with the Insurance companies. Do not throw away anything of value without taking a picture of it. Insurance companies will not replace items you lost hat you cannot prove you owned, so if you do not have a receipt, keep the dead item until Insurance see's it.

    If you do not have insurance, a FEMA rep will come see you to estimate your losses. The quality of this assessment will reflect the amount of help you will get. Non obvious damage may be missed by the assessor, so be sure to take a long level and check to make sure the foundation on the house is still level. Fixing this can cost thousands, and unless you show the assessor the problem, and tell them that it did it exist before the storm, it will not get noted. Do this with any damage you can find that may be overlooked. Point out things to the assessor that you know about in case they did not see it.

    When you clean up, don't throw anything away, and do not clear away any trees that fell down unless they are posing a danger. Insurance and FEMA will allow a certain amount of money for the labor, and you can do it yourself and keep the money. If you clear out the area before the assessor arrives, all you can say is there was a tree here and we cleaned it up. The difference this makes is substantial. During Alicia, we lost a huge oak in the back yard, and a neighbor lost a much smaller one. IIn my case, as soon as the skies cleared we hit the tree with bow saws, cleaned it up and stacked it for disposal. When our assessor arrived we showed him photos that the tree covered practically the whole yard, and the pile of cut up tree. We were given $850 to clean up the debris. Our neighbor did not clean his property until after the assesment, and he was given $1300.

    Don't discard anything of a high value nature. The assessment from FEMA will have a basis of "low quality" "medium quality, and "high value" losses. In our case the determination was that we lived a "medium" lifestyle, and our generic losses were based on this. If we had kept some of the more high quality things around, this might have been ranked at "high value". This rating refers to the general quality of the things that were lost like clothing, furniture, and miscellaneous.

    Anything that went under water is a loss, even it if still works. Flooding leaves a debris film over everything (inside and out), it can ruin clothes and electronics even after they dry out, seem OK and work.

    Our AC worked fine for about 6 months after the flood, then it died. Since it was working when the assessor came by, we did not get funds to replace it. Turn off any heater or AC until after the FEMA/Insurance inspection and a service person says it can be used again.

    If you live in a family owned home, and your family agrees, tell them you own the house as opposed to renting it, your settlement with FEMA will be better and you will get a trailer to live in. In our case we are buying the home from my mother in law, but when the inspector came out my wife told them that the house was owned by her mother, instead of we were buying. This resulted in us being treated like renters, since our house is not my mother-in-laws primary residence. The difference this made was astronomical. Our neighbors received an instant payment of $3500 for immediate expenses, and they received a trailer to live in while the repairs were being done. We got a $650 check to rent an apartment with. This is not enough to rent an apartment, no other funds were made available, and we were told the check must be spent on an apartment or not at all, it could only be used for rental housing, not a hotel or motel. We did not qualify for a trailer, and you can imagine how I felt with a useless check I could not spend.

    I hope this information does no one any good at all, because that means you are suffering, but in case it does help, I thought I would share.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you all.
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    Last edited: Oct 30, 2012
  2. Beingakrant

    Beingakrant BANNED BANNED

    Aug 22, 2012
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    My prayers are with people who lost their near and dear ones and also with those who lost their property during this calamity. My house was wrecked during an Earthquake 10 years back and I still recall the horrifying view. It's a nightmare.