Flood waters rising at Wappingers Creek (C) Daniel FriedmanEarthquake, Hurricane, Flood or Wind Damage Repairs
Introduction: FEMA/ARC booklet, expanded & annotated

InspectAPedia tolerates no conflicts of interest. We have no relationship with advertisers, products, or services discussed at this website.

Earthquake, hurricane, flood or storm & wind damage to buildings - action & repair priorities:

If your building has been flooded, this website provides an easy to understand guide for flood damage assessment, setting priorities of action, guarding personal safety, and taking safe, organized and effective steps to inspect, diagnose, clean-up, and repair a flooded building as well as steps to prevent future damage.

This article series describes how to enter and assess damaged buildings safely, how to set priorities of repair, how to clean up earthquake, flood, storm or wind-damaged buildings, and how to rebuild using methods and materials to reduce future building damage and hazards.

We also discuss earthquake, flood, storm or wind damage insurance including private insurance and the NFIP.

We include extra depth of detail about safe building entry, returning mechanical systems to operation, and special information about avoiding or minimizing mold damage. Adapted and expanded from Repairing your Flooded Home, American Red Cross & FEMA & from additional expert sources.[1]
NOTICE: neither the ARC nor FEMA have yet approved the additions & expansions we have made to the original document.

Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved.

First Steps: What to Do After a Building Has Been Flooded or Damaged by Earthquake, Hurricane, or other Storm or Fire

Earthquake damaged bulding (C) Daniel Friedman
  1. If You Have Been Injured seek medical care at the nearest hospital or emergency facility.

    Floodwaters are often contaminated by sewage and there is risk of serious infection if wounds are not cleaned and treated.

    If you need emergency assistance, from a safe location and away from any possible gas leak odors, contact your local emergency assistance police, fire department or similar agency.

Other Emergency Aid Numbers

  1. Check on Neighbors to see if there are elderly or infant neighbors who are trapped, injured, or otherwise need assistance.

    Help a neighbor who may require special assistance--infants, elderly people, and people with disabilities.

    Elderly people and people with disabilities may require additional assistance.

    People who care for them or who have large families may need additional assistance in emergency situations.
  1. Check on the condition of and safety of your building, home or business to begin planning for damage control, flood or other damage cleanup, and building or business restoration

Warning: Do Not Enter a Flooded, Storm Damaged, or Earthquake or Hurricane Damaged Building in The Following Conditions

Also see BUILDING ENTRY for DAMAGE ASSESSMENT for additional details.

Wet crawl space unsafe to enter (C) Daniel Friedman

This article series gives action & repair priorities if your building has been flooded, or damaged by another disaster in an easy to understand guide.

We describe procedures for for flood damage assessment, setting priorities of action, safe entry procedures for damaged buildings, first steps to protect a building from further damage, how to dry out the building, how to return the utilities to operation, how to clean up a flooded or damaged basement or building, how to rebuild a damaged building, and how to prepare to minimize danger and damage hazards from future disasters.

We also provide special information about avoiding or minimizing mold damage in wet or flooded basements or buildings.

Key Personal Safety Advice For Entering & Repairing a Building After a Disaster

Frost and water in basement ceiling (C) Daniel Friedman

What to do to Prevent Mold Growth After a Building Flood or Burst Pipe

Hazards in and around flooded buildings include risk of structural collapse, risk of septic system collapse, trip and fall injury hazards, electrical shock hazards, fire and explosion hazards where natural gas or bottled gas are present, toxic sludge and materials containing waterborne bacteria, such as the E. coli and Enterococci bacteria, toxic mold growth indoors.

If your building is already moldy or if you suspect mold related illness in your building, we link to a step by step MOLD ACTION GUIDE dealing with toxic or allergenic indoor mold and other indoor contaminants: when and how to inspect or test for mold, when to hire an expert, how to clean up a moldy area, when and how to perform post-remediation mold testing.

Extensive, technically detailed in-depth articles on other mold detection, testing, and prevention methods are organized at our MOLD INFORMATION CENTER

Before Accessing the Expanded/Annotated FEMA/ARC Book on Rebuilding Your Home After a Flood

The online version of the original FEMA/ARC book gives step-by-step advice you can use to clean up, rebuild, and get help after a flood. Before you start, read the safety precautions at the top of this document and review the nine steps that are summarized on the contents pages.

Your home and its contents may look beyond hope, but many of your belongings can be restored. If you do things right, your flooded home can be cleaned up, dried out, rebuilt, and reoccupied sooner than you think. While you are doing the job ahead, you should remember these three important points:

  1. Play it safe. The dangers are not over when the water goes down. Read the safety precautions at the top of this document. Your home’s foundation may have been weakened, the electrical system may have shorted out, and floodwaters may have left behind things that could make you sick.

    Many flooded items, such as wallboard and mattresses, will hold mud and contamination forever. When in doubt, throw it out. Don’t risk injury or infection.
  2. Ask for help. Many people can do a lot of the clean up and repairs discussed in this book. But if you have technical questions or do not feel comfortable doing something, get professional help.

    If there is a federal disaster declaration, a telephone “hotline” will often be publicized to provide information about public, private, and voluntary agency programs to help you recover from the flood.

    Government disaster programs are there to help you, the taxpayer. You’re paying for them; check them out.
  3. Floodproof. It is very likely that your home will be flooded again someday.

    Floodproofing means using materials and practices that will prevent or minimize flood damage in the future. Many floodproofing techniques are inexpensive or can be easily incorporated into your rebuilding program. You can save a lot of money by floodproofing as you repair and rebuild.

    See Step 8. You should also prepare for the next flood by buying flood insurance and writing a flood response plan.


Continue reading at Step 1. Take Care of Yourself First - separate article - Protect yourself and your family from stress, fatigue, and health hazards that follow a flood.


Original FEMA/ARC Article, Herein Annotated, Expanded, and Linked to Additional Details found at

  1. STEP 1. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST - separate article - Protect yourself and your family from stress, fatigue, and health hazards that follow a flood.
  2. STEP 2. GIVE HOUR HOME FIRST AID - separate article- Once it is safe to go back in, protect your home and contents from further damage.
  3. STEP 3. GET ORGANIZED - separate article - Some things are not worth repairing and some things may be too complicated or expensive for you to do by yourself. A recovery plan can take these things into account and help you make the most of your time and money.
  4. STEP 4. BUILDING DRY-OUT PROCEDURES - separate article - Floodwaters damage materials, leave mud, silt and unknown contaminants, and promote the growth of mildew. You need to dry your home to reduce these hazards and the damage they cause.
  5. STEP 5. RESTORE UTILITIES AFTER FLOODING - separate article - The rest of your work will be much easier if you have heat, electricity, clean water, and sewage disposal.
  6. STEP 6. FLOOD DAMAGED BUILDING CLEAN-UP - separate article - The walls, floors, closets, shelves, contents and any other flooded parts of your home should be thoroughly washed and disinfected.
  7. STEP 7. FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE - separate article - Voluntary agencies, businesses, insurance, and government disaster programs can help you through recovery.
  8. STEP 8. REBUILD & FLOODPROOF - separate article - Take your time to rebuild correctly and make improvements that will protect your building from damage by the next flood.
  9. STEP 9. FLOOD & STORM INSURANCE - separate article - Protect yourself from the next flood with flood insurance, a flood response plan, and community flood protection programs. This step also includes sources to go to for additional assistance.

The original version of this information is published by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the American Red Cross to help flooded property owners. It is designed to be easily copied. Permission to reproduce all or any section of this material is hereby granted and encouraged.

Copies of this book are available


The original form of this book was prepared for the Federal Emergency Management Agency under Contract Number EMW-89-C-3024 and EMW-91K-3738.

InspectApedia has added annotations, comments, and links to online articles giving corrections or greater depth to the original EPA/ARC document.

FEMA and the American Red Cross gratefully acknowledge the thoughtful assistance provided by the many individuals who reviewed this book. Reviewers included repair and reconstruction contractors, mental health professionals, sociologists, researchers, disaster assistance specialists, insurance experts, underwriters, structural engineers, public health agents, floodplain managers, emergency managers, education specialists, editorial experts, and graphic designers.


Continue reading at STEP 1. TAKE CARE OF YOURSEL FIRST- separate article - Protect yourself and your family from stress, fatigue, and health hazards that follow a flood.

FEMA Regional Office Contact Information & Telephone Numbers

How to Contact FEMA
FEMA WEBSITE - how to contact FEMA directly for disaster aid -
FEMA Region States in the FEMA Region FEMA Contact Information
FEMA Region I CT, ME, MA NH, RI, VT FEMA Region I J.W. McCormack POCH, Rm. 442 Boston, Massachusetts 021094595 (617) 223-9561
FEMA Region II NJ, NY, PR, VI FEMA Region II 26 Federal Plaza, Rm. 1337 New York, NY 10278-0002 (212) 225-7202
FEMA Region III DE, DC, MD, PA, VA, WV FEMA Region III Liberty Square Bldg., 2nd Floor 105 S. Seventh Street Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106-3392 (215) 931-5750
FEMA Region IV AL, FL, GA, KY, MS, NC, SC, TN FEMA Region IV 1371 Peachtree St., N.E., Suite 700 Atlanta, Georgia 30309-3108 (404) 853-4400
FEMA Region V IL, IN, MI, MN, OH, WI FEMA Region V 175 West Jackson Street, 4th Floor Chicago, Illinois 60604-2698 (312) 408-5533
FEMA Region VI AR, LA, NM, OK, TX FEMA Region VI Federal Regional Center., Rm. 206 800 N. Loop 288 Denton, Texas 76201-3698 (817) 898-5127
FEMA Region VII IA KS, MO, NE FEMA Region VII 911 Walnut Street, Room 200 Kansas City, Missouri 641062085 (816) 283-7002
FEMA Region VIII CO, MT, ND, SD, UT, WY FEMA Region VIII Denver Regional Center Building 710, Box 25267 Denver, Colorado 80225-0267 (303) 235-4830
FEMA Region IX AZ, CA, HI, NV FEMA Region IX Building 105 Presidio of San Francisco San Francisco, California 941291250 (415) 923-7176
FEMA Region X AK, ID, OR, WA FEMA Region X Federal Regional Center 130 228th St., S.W. Bothell, Washington 98021-9796 (206) 487-4682
FEMA Publications   Federal Emergency
Management Agency
Attn: Publications
P. O. Box 2012
Jessup, MD 20794-2012

FEMA Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief & Emergency Assistance Act

The Stafford Act, (properly named as below) defines the scope and authority of the assistance to be provided by the U.S. Federal Government to state and local governments in alleviating both human suffering and property damage resulting from various disasters.

For access to the full details of the act use the web link provided below or see the document directly from the link we provide.

Two definitions in the act are helpful in understanding the scope of responsibility of the federal government. The first explains that the U.S. President has the authority to declare a disaster and the second defines "Major Disaster" - Quoting [9]

“Emergency” means any occasion or instance for which, in the determination of the President, Federal assistance is needed to supplement State and local efforts and capabilities to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, or to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in any part of the United States.

“Major disaster” means any natural catastrophe (including any hurricane, tornado, storm, high water, winddriven water, tidal wave, tsunami, earthquake, volcanic eruption, landslide, mudslide, snowstorm, or drought), or, regardless of cause, any fire, flood, or explosion, in any part of the United States, which in the determination of the President causes damage of sufficient severity and magnitude to warrant major disaster assistance under this Act to supplement the efforts and available resources of States, local governments, and disaster relief organizations in alleviating the damage, loss, hardship, or suffering caused thereby.

The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (Public Law 100-707), signed into law on November 23, 1988; amended the Disaster Relief Act of 1974 (Public Law 93-288). The Stafford Act constitutes the statutory authority for most Federal disaster response activities especially as they pertain to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and FEMA programs. [9]

Important Telephone & Insurance Policy Numbers You Should Record for Your Home

Important Telephone Numbers for Your Home or Building
American Red Cross AMERICAN RED CROSS WEBSITE - how to contact the Red Cross - ARC -
Disaster Hotline (announced if there is a federal disaster declaration)  
Cooperative Extension Service  
Electrical & Gas Power Company  
Emergency Management Office  
Family Members  
Flood Insurance Policy Company Number  
Gas Company  
Hardware Stores & Building Suppliers  
Health Department  
Homeowner’s Insurance Policy Company Number  
Insurance Agent  
Lumber Companies  
Poison Control Center  
Wind and/or Hail Insurance Policy Company Number  

Continue reading at STEP 1. TAKE CARE of YOURSEL FIRST or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES.

Or see these

Articles on Flood & Hurricane or Storm Damage Emergency Help & Repairs

Suggested citation for this web page

FLOOD & DISASTER BUILDING DAMAGE REPAIR PROCEDURES at - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.


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