Minimize Immediate Danger
When disaster strikes the first thing you should do is minimize the immediate danger. If it's a pipe that has burst, shut off the water. Next would be to shut off power to reduce risk of electrical shock. Next evaluate if there is any danger of your health such as water rising too fast and you should evacuate.
The next step is determined by the urgency of damage to your belongings. You could call your insurance to have them send an approved water extraction company as soon as possible to dry the area and reduce water damage or remove the items most at risk of getting wet and getting water damage.
Removing your items –
Wooden furniture could absorb water and start to crack or warp soon after. Paper products such as documents, books, and photos could absorb water and become permanently damaged. If the items have already absorbed water, it may be better to leave them for the water extraction company to use industrial equipment to dry the area including the items.
Call Your Insurance -
A water extraction company can be there within 2 hours and start the water extraction process and dry the area reducing the chance for permanent damage, however you should contact your insurance company to ensure your insurance will send an approved company and approve the claim.
Stop Further Damage
Find the source of the water and stop it from getting in or continuing. If the source is a burst pipe or leak, you should shut off the water valve to the area. If it is a flood or storm, use sandbags or stoppers to prevent the water from getting in the house.
Call Your Insurance
If you haven't already called them to send out or recommend a water extraction company now is the time to discuss details with your insurance company. They might have you take pictures to send to their adjuster or schedule one to arrive on site to investigate. You should look over your policy to ensure they have accurate information in their system and don’t miss a claim that should be covered.
Permanent water damage could occur hours after happening, so anything that won't be dried by the water extraction company should be set out to dry or use fans and dehumidifiers to remove the water. This may include rugs, wall decorations, furniture, and decorations, they should let you know the scope of their work and what they won't do.
After the drying process it is time to remove the damaged items and assess the full scope of damage. You should have your insurance company send out an adjuster to access what is still damaged and needs to be replaced. You may have furniture or electronics that will need to be replaced by insurance. There may also be damage to the home such as drywall or permanent water damage to the floor or walls that will need to be professionally restored. Documents, photos, or clothing may also need to be sent to a professional content restoration company.
Check for Mold
Moisture is one of the ingredients for mold growth. Mold can cause health issues and absorb the surface it lies on resulting in permanent damage to your home or belongings. If you have visible mold call your insurance to see if you have mold coverage and then call a mold remediation company. If you smell a musty smell but don't see mold, call an industrial hygienist for a mold test report that will list which mold is present and how much is in the air.
Other Companies to Contact
Power company – have the power companies number on hand to contact in case of power lines going down or to investigate any damage to the power lines from trees or wind.
Water Company – If you are unsure or unable to turn off the water at main valve, call the water company to turn off your water. They can also investigate leaks you may be unable to detect.
Police – Sometimes your house may be exposed to the public and you will not be home to secure it. This could happen in a bad storm that knocks a hole in the wall or breaks down your door. You could call a contractor to board up the opening but in the mean time you should contact the police to have them check on your house to prevent looters or vandals.
General Contractors/Roofers - General contractors and specialty ones such as roofers can board up your home or repair you roof. You should contact your insurance company first to ensure any repair would be covered by insurance first.