BEAUMONT, Texas — Many areas of Southeast Texas have flooded after Tropical Storm Imelda dropped about 25-35 inches of rain in the area.

Some will be dealing with a few inches while some may be dealing with several feet of water in their homes.

If you're home has flood damage and you don't know where to begin, here are the first steps you should take.

  • Be careful entering your home: If possible, wear protective shoes and clothing.
  • Document the damage: Take lots of pictures and jot down notes.
  • Contact Entergy: If outlets and fuse boxed got wet, don't touch them until you get the OK.
  • Drying out: Remove all standing water and clean surfaces with bleach.
  • Beware of mold: It can form 24 to 48 hours after a flood.

If you have flood insurance, file a claim with your insurance company. An insurance adjuster will come to inspect your home. You will work with the adjuster on what your policy covers. 

FEMA assistance is not available yet. There are three steps required before FEMA assistance is available according to Chambers County Emergency Management. First, the local jurisdiction has to issue a disaster declaration and send to the Governor, which Judge Sylvia did on the 9-18-19. Secondly, Governor Abbott has to issue a state declaration and sends to the President, which he has. Thirdly, the President has to make a declaration, which then opens the door to potential FEMA assistance.  As of Thursday, this declaration has not happened.  It does not mean it will not happen, it means that information and damage reports are being compiled by the state to send to the President.

Here’s some tips from the American Red Cross on what to do when water intrudes into your residence.

  1. Clothing – make sure you’re protected from water animals and insects. Wear long pants and shirts. Sturdy shoes or boots. Gloves.
  2. Cleaning supplies – detergent, bleach. Professional cleaning vacuum. Sponges. Buckets. Rubber gloves. Mops, brooms, shovels, rakes.
  3. Cleaning up – the process: check on your house structure & house utilities. Open the doors and windows to let the house air out. Remove any remaining water, dirt, items or trash. Clean hard surfaces with hot water, soap, detergent or bleach.
  4. For furniture – air it out before cleaning.
  5. Throw out foot, beverages and medicine that was exposed to the flood water.
  6. Get a professional to check your appliances before you use them.
  7. Remove drywall and isolation that was damage.
  8. Consider removing vinyl and tile.
  9. For wood floors – de-humidifiers will take the water out of the flooring.
  10. Be patient – it can take a while for things to dry out.

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