Superstorm Sandy may have been downgraded from its Hurricane status, but it wreaked havoc on the Northeast and it will be a long road to recovery for many people. CNN estimates that at least 40 lives were lost due to the storm, millions are still without power and ravaged cities face cleanup of waterlogged homes, businesses, buildings and mass transportation. If you or someone you know has sustained flood damage to your home, where do you even begin cleaning up?

FEMA advises you to inspect your home carefully before you enter, in addition to these other guidelines:

  • Walk carefully around the outside and check the power lines, look for gas leaks and any structural damage. If there are any doubts about your safety, have your home inspected by a qualified building inspector.
  • Keep a battery-powered radio with you so you can listen for emergency updates and news reports.
  • Use a battery-powered flash light to inspect a damaged home.
    Note: The flashlight should be turned on outside before entering - the battery may produce a spark that could ignite leaking gas, if present.
  • Watch out for animals, especially poisonous snakes. Use a stick to poke through debris.
  • Use the phone only to report life-threatening emergencies.
  • As you return home, watch for fallen objects; downed electrical wires; and weakened walls, bridges, roads and sidewalks.
  • Do not enter if:
    • You smell gas
    • Flood waters remain around the building
    • Your home was damaged by fire and the authorities have not declared it safe

Once you are allowed to reenter your home, it’s important to know that your house may be contaminated with mold or sewage. Flood water and standing water presents many health hazards such as infectious diseases, chemical hazards and various other injuries. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has helpful tips on what to do when you first reenter your home after it has flooded, as well as how to dry out your house safely in order to eliminate the health threats to you and your family.

Relief groups are working to make sure anyone affected by the storm are being cared for, and here’s How You Can Help.

In addition to flood damage to buildings, chances are more than one vehicle was damaged in the storm. Future used car buyers beware! An unfortunate common scam involves selling cars with flood damage. Dealers and salvage operators buy up flood-damaged cars on the cheap, clean them up, and then send them to various parts of the country to be re-sold without reporting the car’s flood history. Check out our blog post from last November: How to Spot Flood Damage in a Car for helpful tips and tricks for you to avoid being scammed in the future.

With these tips, you will be well-informed about how to recover from the flood damage to your home. Please visit the CDC website if you need additional information. You will also be knowledgeable about how to spot flood damage in a car before you purchase your next vehicle. Are there any tips you would like to add to the list? Tweet them to us. would like to send our thoughts out to anyone affected by the storm. We know it will be a long and difficult road back to recovery for many people, businesses, and cities. As New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said, “We will rebuild it. No question in my mind, we’ll rebuild it.”

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