PEARL, Miss. – Although residents are NOT cleared to return to their flooded homes at the time of this release, it’s not too early to begin thinking about the upcoming cleanup phase following the Pearl River Flood and severe weather events.
If you know your home or business has flooded, it is crucial that you wait to re-enter until officials confirm there are no structural, electrical hazards or biohazards and it is safe to return.
Even after your area is deemed safe, continue to use extreme caution and make sure the main electrical switch to your home is off before you enter the structure.
Next, it’s important that you immediately contact your insurance company and take pictures to document the damage.
If you experienced flooding, file an insurance claim as soon as possible. If you have an insurance-related question, call your agent or call the Mississippi Insurance Department at 1-800-562-2957 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more consumer tips, click here.
Once your claim is filed, it’s time to begin the cleanup stage. In the case of flooding, it’s particularly critical that cleanup occurs as soon as possible. Mildew and mold can develop within 24-48 hours of water exposure.
When cleaning, use protective equipment such as gloves and a mask. You’ll also want to make sure the working area is well ventilated by opening all doors and windows.
If the damage to your home following a flood event is extensive, the cleanup process can easily become an overwhelming task, but these steps will help make the daunting task feel more achievable:
- Remove standing water from floors, carpets, and hard surfaces.
- Remove/discard all soaked items such as furniture, rugs, bedding, and curtains that can’t be cleaned, dried, or already contain mold — when in doubt, throw it out.
- Use fans and dehumidifiers to remove moisture. If mold has started to grow, DO NOT use a fan, because it will spread the mold.
- Clean walls, hard-surfaced floors, and other household surfaces with a mixture of soap and water then dry right away.
- Disinfect all surfaces with a water and bleach solution (1 cup bleach to 5 gallons of water) and DO NOT mix chemicals.
Flooding can contaminate the water supply, so be sure to take heed of all boil water advisories. For more information you can visit the Mississippi State Department of Health’s website.
If you decide the cleanup job may be too difficult or dangerous for you then it may be best to get help from an experienced and qualified professional to inspect, repair and restore the damaged parts of your home.
For debris cleanup in or around your home, please refer to this picture on the best ways to sort your debris.
Just a reminder, residents in Hinds, Rankin and Madison County can self-report damage to county emergency management agencies through MEMA’s self-reporting tool. Those links for each county can be found on our website https://www.msema.org/.