What to Do After a Flood: Helpful Tips for Your House and Car

Typhoon Ulysses aggravated the effects of previous typhoons and caused floods to many areas in Luzon. It has left properties and items soaked in water and people evacuated from their homes. Going back to your flooded properties could be very overwhelming. This is why Trinity created this article, compiled from different resources, to provide you with some guidelines on what to do after a flood.

Disclaimer: Trinity compiled the following information from different resources for the benefit of those affected by the typhoon. These respective resources were credited after each section

For Your House:

Re-entering your home:

  1. Use extreme caution when returning to your home after a flood.
  2. If the main power switch was not turned off prior to flooding, do not re-enter your home until a qualified electrician has determined it is safe to do so.
  3. Appliances that may have been flooded pose a risk of shock or fire when turned on. Do not use any appliances until electrical components have been thoroughly cleaned, dried, and inspected by a qualified electrician.
  4. If you have standing water in your home and can turn off the main power from a dry location, then go ahead and turn off the power, even if it delays cleaning. If you must enter standing water to access the main power switch, then call an electrician to turn it off. NEVER turn power on or off yourself or use an electric tool or appliance while standing in water.
  5. If there’s a gas leak,
  • Eliminate all sources of ignition immediately. Do not switch on/off electrical switches which may cause sparks.
  • Close the main gas valve or regulator to stop the flow of gas.
  • Open windows, doors, and other openings to increase ventilation.
  • Evacuate all persons not involved in handling the emergency.
  • If leak is on the cylinder, bring the cylinder to a well ventilated and isolated area.
  • Cover leaking portion with wet cloth and/or spray water to disperse vapor cloud.
  • Report the incident to your local fire department.

Ensure building safety:

  1. Make sure the building is structurally safe.
  2. Look for buckled walls or floors.
  3. Watch for holes in the floor, broken glass, and other potentially dangerous debris.

Documenting the damage:

  1. It is important to take a photo or video of the damage to help you during insurance claims.
  2. Take note which items can still be repaired or cleaned. (Take reasonable measures to protect and prevent further damage to the property by segregating those items that can still be repaired or cleaned.)
  3. Immediately contact your broker, Trinity Insurance Brokers (TIB), to further assist you on the proper documentation and processing of your claim.

Structures:

  1. Ventilate or dehumidify the house until it is completely dry.
  2. Rinse and then clean all floors as quickly as possible.
  3. Replace flooring that has been deeply penetrated by flood water or sewage.
  4. Clean all interior wall and floor cavities with a solution of water and unscented detergent.

Sources:

  • Get Prepared - https://www.getprepared.gc.ca/cnt/hzd/flds-ftr-en.aspx
  • CDC - https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/floods/after.html
  • QBE AU - https://www.qbe.com/au/news/what-to-do-after-a-flood
  • Solane - https://www.solane.com.ph/your-safety/emergency-response/’

For your vehicle:

What to do right after the flood:

  1. Don't start the car – Water can short-circuit your electrical systems. Also, it might enter your engine and other critical components, damaging them further.
  2. Unclamp the battery – Disconnecting the battery eliminates the possibility of short-circuiting while ensuring you don't get electrocuted as you check your car.
  3. Open your windows – Roll down your windows to get rid of any dank smell. If the windows are electric, open the door using your car keys (don’t activate through remote). Take out any removable mat, carpeting, and seat cover. Let the interior dry out.
  4. Step on the brake to drain the remaining current in the electrical and electronic circuit of the car.
  5. Check the level of immersion – The water will leave a mark indicating how deep your car was flooded. If the water level reaches the top of your tires, don't try to start it. Have the car towed instead.
  6. Check your fluid reservoirs – Inspect the quality of the fluids in your brake, clutch, coolant, and power steering reservoirs. Are the fluids still viscous to the touch, or have they become watery? If it's the latter, then water has seeped in.
  7. Check the air filter – Your air filter is a good indication if water found its way into your engine. If the air filter is wet, then the engine needs to be flushed. Have your car towed to an automotive service center for this service.
  8. To be safe, it would be wise to bring your car in for a thorough checkup, even if everything seems fine. Water may still be in the system, and even a little amount can wreak havoc on different components. Make sure to have the engine flushed and the fuel tank drained.

Documenting the damage:

  1. It is important to take a photo or video of the damage to help you during insurance claims.
  2. Take reasonable measures to protect and prevent further damage to the car.
  3. Immediately contact your broker, Trinity Insurance Brokers (TIB), to further assist you on the proper documentation and processing of your claim.

What to replace:

  1. Pull down and drain fuel tank and replace fuel filter.
  2. Drain oil three times. For the first two, use cheap regular oil just to drain the water and mud in the engine. After each drain, start and idle for 15 minutes. Once the drain is already clear of mud, fill with required motor oil and replace with required oil filter.
  3. Full Drain and fill ATF or gear oil and clean ATF filter / Fill drain power steering fluid.
  4. Drain radiator and replace coolant.
  5. Bleed brake fluid on all 4 wheels.
  6. Repack all bearings, CV, and shaft.

Sources:

  • From Carmudi - https://www.carmudi.com.ph/journal/what-to-do-when-your-car-gets-flooded/
  • From Etch MyPlate - https://m.facebook.com/EtchMyPlate/photos/a.1688816611348802/2927432380820546/?type=3
  • Pictures - https://pixabay.com/