While we are continuing our prayers for the safety and well-being for everyone affected by the flooding, it is important to begin taking action now to recover as much as you can. The first few days after a flood are some of the most important in order to repair your home and receive full compensation for your damages.
What To Do Now
Apply for Disaster Assistance
Even if your parish has not yet received an official disaster declaration, we recommend applying for assistance as soon as possible as it can be a lengthy and tedious process.
- Online: https://www.disasterassistance.gov/
- By phone: 1-800-621-3362
- TTY: 1-800-462-7585
Stay cautious when returning to a flooded property. Search for any visible structural damage, such as cracked or loosened foundations before entering. Contact utility companies if you suspect damage to water, gas, electric or sewer lines.
The water in your home could be contaminated by sewage or household chemicals. It is recommended to wear waders, hip- or waist-high waterproof boots, as well as rubber gloves to avoid contaminants.
Document the Damage
Before you begin the cleanup process, it is very important to fully document the damage to your property for your insurer by taking extensive photos or video of your property. If possible, include timestamps on all photos and videos.
Reduce Mold Damage
Mold can develop within two days of water damage, so remove wet materials, such as carpeting and bedding, as soon as possible. Document all mold-affected items before removing them, and take photographs for insurers before removing wet wallboards and baseboards.
Secure Your Property
It is the property owner’s responsibility to secure your home so that no additional damage occurs. Place boards over broken windows and secure a tarp if the roof has been damaged. Take photographs to prove to the insurance company that all possible steps have been taken to protect your property against further damage.
For a more comprehensive guide on flood cleanup, click here.
If You Have Flood Insurance…
You MUST file your proof of loss within 60 days! Or you cannot recover!
If You Do Not Have Flood Insurance…
Everyone affected by the flood should make a FEMA claim, regardless of their insurance status: https://www.fema.gov/disaster/4277
If you do not have flood insurance, and do not live in a “Special Flood Hazard Area,” FEMA may pay you up to $33,000 via the “Individuals and Households Program” (IHP). This includes money for medical, clean up, temporary housing and other immediate needs. Again, it is extremely important to have comprehensive documentation of your damage to make it easier to seek compensation: http://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1461689021638-cfcfd7f6c263635802fa7a76a19e00ea/FS001_What_is_Individual_Assistance_508.pdf
To determine if your property is located in a flood map, contact FEMA directly at 1-800-621-3362 or visit here: https://msc.fema.gov/portal/search?AddressQuery=70808
- FEMA Disaster Assistance Information: http://gohsep.la.gov/Portals/0/Documents/1-800_Flier_Eng.pdf
- Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Information Website: http://emergency.louisiana.gov/
- Official Site of the National Flood Insurance Program: https://wjspww.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/pages/flood_facts.