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Expert advice to lessen flood damage to your home

Which homes in the greater Houston area will be spared the ravaging effects of Hurricane Harvey's floodwaters? A Gilbert storm restoration specialist shares tips to minimize the after-effects.

GILBERT, Ariz. - As waters in the greater Houston area begin to recede and residents make their way home, FEMA Director Brock Long assured weary homeowners "eventually one of the largest missions that's going to take place is mucking out houses and helping people try to save their homes."

Those are hopeful words, but storm damage restoration specialist Aaron Hoffman says otherwise.

"Right now there's really nothing you can do," Hoffman said. "When you're dealing with that much water, it has to subside on its own."

Hoffman, the president of 1st Choice Restoration, Inc. says if possible, act fast when water begins to enter your home. Arizona typically doesn't see the scale of flooding like that in southeast Texas, but a burst pipe, broken water heater or a heavy monsoon rain can do just as much damage. He says concentrate on those first 10 hours of cleanup to minimize the effects of flood damage.

"Those first 10 hours are really crucial on getting that dry-out," Hoffman said. "And get rid of all material that was exposed to the water."

A quick drying out will also minimize another serious health hazard: mold. To get rid of it, companies like 1st Choice Restoration have to remove every living spore.

"It's literally a cleaning process," Hoffman said. "You are removing, remediating all of the materials that have been exposed or have any growth to them."

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Hoffman feels some homes may be salvageable, but many homes may have just taken on too much water.

"It's really going to boil down to where they were located and how much water they were exposed to in those areas," he said.

Hoffman also suggests homeowners document everything they value that could be damaged by water in a flooding situation. Taking pictures is good idea. And don't hesitate when it's time to call in a professional crew to start the cleanup process.

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