Checklist for after a flood or fire


  • Compile a list of dates, times and persons who you talk to concerning your claim.
  • Get a copy of your insurance policy. This will define and determine your limits as well as your rights and responsibilities to and from your insurance company.
  • Have a clear line of communication with your adjuster.
  • Ask what the process is for listing and identifying the value of personal property.
  • Ask about being reimbursed for any lost rent or interruption of business.
  • Ask your adjuster for a sufficient monetary advance for purchases that are necessary. Include enough money to assist with your first month and security deposit for a temporary dwelling.
  • Save all receipts for any and all meals, hotels, purchases, toiletries, vitamins, cosmetics, etc.
  • Remember that it is your choice who the restoration company will be, not the adjuster’s.
  • If you feel that you are being pressured to choose a certain company, you can contact your local Attorney General’s Office to file a complaint.
  • Check reference, for any and all companies that you retain to perform work on your behalf.

From FEMA Emergency Response – Rapid Recovery Service can assist with Recovery Services on your structure, personal contents restoration and deal with your insurance provider.

  • Storm - flood damageAlert any staff to potential hazards.
  • Work in pairs.
  • Look for areas with loose or downed power lines; avoid those areas and report to local authorities.
  • Look for electrical sparks, broken or frayed wires or smell of burning insulation.
  • Turn off electricity at main switch if you can without risk.
  • Shut off water.
  • If you smell gas or hear blowing or hissing, open a window and immediately leave the building.
  • Turn off gas at main valve if trained to do so.
  • Do not re-enter the building until declared safe by security or emergency management.
  • Create a secure salvage area for supplies such as fans, tables, shelves, plastic sheeting, drying materials and clean water.
  • Notify emergency officials concerning the extent of the damage.
  • The building may be contaminated so do not enter without current tetanus shots, Hepatitis shots, protective gloves/clothing, hardhat and NIOSH-approved respiratory masks.
  • If possible, reduce temperature and relative humidity to prevent mold outbreak.
  • Cover broken windows with plastic.
  • Do not turn on heat unless truly necessary.
  • Remove any standing water and empty items containing water; remove wet carpets and furnishings.
  • If everything is soaked, use commercial dehumidification.
  • Do not move objects or collections without documenting their condition.
  • Photograph or videotape conditions of collections and structure; make notes to go along with the photos or videotape.
  • Make notes of each step of the salvage process.
  • If nothing in the house is dry, cover everything with loose plastic sheeting.
  • Separate damaged and undamaged items.
  • Label and retrieve all broken items.
  • Isolate items with mold and check every day for new mold growth.
  • Make a rough estimate of materials affected and the extent of the damage.


  • Begal Enterprises, Inc.
  • FEMA

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