Flooding can cause tremendous damage to ministry and school buildings. Before jumping in to clean up the mess, take steps to avoid getting hurt.
If you haven't done so already, your first step is to contact your insurance agent. He or she can help you begin the claims process. Be prepared to provide contact information and your policy number. You'll also want to file a flood claim immediately if your buildings are insured by the National Flood Insurance Program.
Investigate additional help that your ministry or its members may be eligible to receive through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the American Red Cross, and other disaster relief organizations. Then, proceed the disaster recovery process with caution, asking professionals to handle jobs that are beyond the ability of your staff or volunteers.
Take steps to ensure the safety of yourself and other workers. Structural, electrical, or other hazards could cause injury if your building was submerged. Here are some task to complete before you start repairs or cleaning:
Take pictures. Take extensive photographs of damaged buildings and their contents for insurance purposes before cleanup begins.
Once these steps have been performed and you determine the structure is safe, it’s time to start cleaning and repairing.
If floodwater has entered your building, start by drying out the building. Depending on how much your building is flooded, you may have to take several of these steps:
While drying your building, check for areas that could become—or already are—riddled with mold or mildew. Things that could get moldy include soaked wallboard, fiberglass insulation, cellulose insulation, and carpet. If any of these are muddy, they should be discarded.
After drying the building, the next step is to clean. If you find that you have no cleaning supplies, your local Red Cross chapter will usually distribute cleanup kits after a disaster. These kits have the necessities (brooms, mops, buckets, gloves, cleaner, etc.) and can provide for any cleaning job you have when used properly.
You may feel overwhelmed by the amount of cleaning that is needed, so work through one room at a time. The American Red Cross suggests that when cleaning you use a “two bucket” approach. Use one bucket for cleaner, and the other for rinse water. This will extend the use of your cleaner by keeping out dirty rinse water.
During recovery, think about what you can do to prepare your ministry for another disaster. The American Red Cross suggests that you implement any flood-proofing steps while you rebuild to reduce the overall cost and will help prevent your building from taking considerable damage again.
Check out the American Red Cross's Flood Safety page to learn what you can do before, during, and after a flood. The material addresses homeowners, but much of it can be applied to ministries, as well.
Learn how to strengthen your ministry's defenses against the next flood at Disastersafety.org, a service of the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS). The IBHS turns research and insights into actions you can take to reduce costs associated with weather-related losses.
Thank you for your interest in Brotherhood Mutual. We appreciate the opportunity to provide your church or other ministry with an insurance quote and will reply to your request as soon as possible.
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