Los Angeles Fire Department

02/21/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/21/2024 14:51

The Nine Steps of Flood Recovery

Though your home and its contents may have been damaged by a storm related flood or mudslide, many of your belongings can be restored. If you do things right, your flooded home can be cleaned, dried out, rebuilt and reoccupied sooner than you think!

Play it safe. The dangers are not over when the water recedes. Your home's foundation, walls or ceilings may have weakened, the electrical system may have suffered damage - or floodwaters may have left behind things that can make you sick.

City of Los Angeles residents affected by the February 2024 Winter Storms are asked to promptly participate in the County of Los Angeles Damage Collection Survey, and remain informed through local government updates regarding City, County and State Disaster Recovery Services.

To contact specific agencies:

The Nine Steps of Flood Recovery:

Step 1. Take Care of Yourself First

If you are ill or injured, get prompt medical attention. Protect yourself from stress, fatigue and flood specific hazards. If you need food, clothing, shelter or referral to health care and human services call 2-1-1.

Step 2. Give Your Home First Aid

If evacuated, return home only when authorities indicate it is safe to do so. Dangers do not end when floodwaters recede, and some - such as chemical and sewage contamination, electrical shock and inhalation hazards, may be invisible. If there is any doubt about safety, have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before entering. Once certain it is safe to go inside, proceed carefully. Your damaged home is no place for small children or pets. While working to protect your home from further harm, be certain to maintain personal hygiene and use safety gear specific to site hazards, such as boots, rubber gloves, hard hat, face mask and goggles. Don't hesitate to ask for help!

Step 3. Get Organized

Document every loss and expense. Take photos, keep receipts and contact your Insurance Agent. Some things are not worth repairing and other things may be too complicated or expensive to do by yourself. A recovery plan can take these things into account and help you make the most of your time and money.

Step 4. Dry Out Your Home

Floodwaters damage materials, leaving mud, silt and contaminants that can promote the growth of mold. You need to safely and thoroughly dry your home to reduce these hazards and the damage they cause.

Step 5. Restore the Utilities

Your work will be much easier if you have heat, electricity, clean water, and sewage disposal. If storm damaged, we suggest these services be formally inspected and safely restored only by certified utility workers, as quickly as possible.

Step 6. Clean Up

Official documents and family treasures can often be salvaged and preserved with special care. Throw away food, including packaged items contaminated by flood water. Any flooded part of your home and all household items that contacted floodwater should be thoroughly washed and disinfected. When in doubt, throw it out! Don't risk injury or infection.

Step 7. Check on Financial Assistance

There are national, state and regional volunteer agencies, business and insurance services, as well as City, County, State and Federal government disaster programs, loans and benefit guidance that can greatly assist you through the recovery and claims process.

Step 8. Rebuild and Flood Proof

Take time to repair and rebuild with safety in mind. Make improvements that will protect your building from the next flood and other likely disasters. Never rush into settlements or contracts. Get bids and opinions only from reputable, established firms willing to provide clear proof of license, training and insurance. Don't hesitate to ask for multiple references and inspect previous work.

Step 9. Prepare for the Next Flood

Protect and prepare yourself for the next flood with flood insurance, a home inventory and family response plan that takes into account your community flood risk and protection programs.

We trust these Nine Steps of Flood Recovery will help you recover quickly and safely.

We encourage City of Los Angeles residents to monitor important updates from the City's Emergency Management Department throughout their flood or storm recovery process.