Property Owner Flood Recovery Resources

Property Owner Resources


Kentucky Flood Preparedness Quick Guide

KDOW developed a two-page guide that covers several aspects flooding.  The Guide includes what local officials and citizens should do before, during, and after a flooding event, as well as topics such as how to find your flood risk, when are permits needed, mitigation information, substantial damage information, and more.

Download the Kentucky Flood Preparedness Quick Guide and share it throughout your community.


Property Owners Flood Insurance Claims – Starting Your Recovery

Starting Your Recovery: FEMA’s Flood Insurance Claim Process  – September 2018


The Flood Insurance Claims Handbook

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) provides assistance and support to protect the life you’ve worked hard to build.  This 12-page handbook helps you take full advantage of the flood insurance policy you purchased, if or when you experience a flood — whether you are a homeowner, renter, or business owner.  FEMA created this claims handbook and the Agency oversees the NFIP.

NFIP Claims Handbook provides step-by-step guidance on the things you need to know about filing a flood claim.

What to Do Before a Flood
Check Your Policy Declarations Page
Prepare Lists and Documentation
Secure Important Papers 

Talk to Your Insurance Agent 
Have Alternate Contact Information
What to Do After a Flood
Do These Things Right Away 
Handling Your Claim 
Supporting Your Claim

Request for Additional Payment


The ABC’s of Returning to Flooded Buildings 

Returning to flood damaged buildings requires careful planning.  The tips contained in this one-page flyer are designed to assist impacted individuals when they are able to reach their flooded property. 

Link to the The ABC’s of Returning to Flooded Buildings.



Mitigation Ideas

Mitigation Ideas provides a range of potential mitigation actions for reducing risk to natural hazards and disasters. Ideas for mitigation actions are presented for the following natural hazards: drought, earthquake, erosion, extreme temperatures, flood, hail, landslide, lightning, sea level rise, severe wind, severe winter weather, storm surge, subsidence, tornado, tsunami, and wildfire.


Drawbacks of Bleach

While bleach is convenient as a cleaner and stain remover for hard, non-porous items, it has distinct drawbacks when cleaning flood-impacted buildings.  Many types of bleach are not EPA-registered as a disinfectant.  Further, its effectiveness in killing bacteria and mold is significantly reduced when it comes in contact with residual dirt, which is often present in flooded homes. 

Also, if bleach water comes into contact with electrical components and other metal parts of mechanical systems it can cause corrosion.  Bleach water can also compromise the effectiveness of termite treatments in the soil surrounding the building.


The Cleaning Flooded Bldgs Fact Sheet offers information on correctly cleaning and drying buildings after flooding. The advisory describes the selection and application of appropriate cleaners as well as the equipment and process needed to properly dry the building prior to any restoration efforts.

When a flooded home has not been cleaned and dried within a few weeks of the flood event, mold contamination should be expected, and specific steps are needed to clean and restore the home.  Basic cleaning and drying information is presented in the FEMA Recovery Advisory Initial Restoration for Flooded Buildings (FEMA 549, 2005), which specifies five steps for post-flood building restoration, including (1) air out, (2) move out, (3) tear out, (4) clean out, and (5) dry out.  This Fact Sheet builds on the last two of these steps and assumes that the majority of the muck-out and gutting process has been completed and the home is ready for cleaning and drying.


Salvaging Family Valuables and Heirlooms Damaged by Disasters – 10 Tips

Flood damage lasts a long time.  When homes are flooded and lives are upended, treasured keepsakes such as photos, artwork, quilts and family heirlooms become more cherished. Although they may have been damaged in the flood, these treasures may be salvageable.

Special immediate attention is required to handle flood damage to your belongings.  Time is critical.  Be sure to keep all bills connected with clean-up, restoration, and moving back.  Many will be covered by homeowners, flood, or fine arts insurance.  It will take time and a lot of effort, but keep a record of every letter, every visit and every call about the disaster.  You may be asked for the same information several times.

What to write down or document –

  • Date and names of everyone who tells you what you can do.
  • Notes on description and condition of belongings.
  • Photos of everything
  • Everything you are taking out of the house.
  1. Be sure your house is safe to re-enter. Do not walk into water until you are sure the power is off. Follow all safety rules and get permission to enter from the police, electric company or another professional. 
  2. Take photos or video of absolutely everything. Go into your home armed with your cell phone or a camera, pen, paper, flashlight, and plastic bags. Go through the house room by room and list, photograph or video the floor, window coverings, furniture, pictures, decorative items, photos—anything that you can see.  Look in closets and open cabinets and drawers.  Keep each room separate.

Make notes on description and condition.  Small items, like cups and saucers or napkin rings, should be carefully recorded, one at a time if possible.  To this listing you will later add actual cost, replacement cost, and any notes to prove ownership and value.  It can be worth money in a settlement with the insurance company or on a claim of losses with the Internal Revenue Service.

  1. Mold is a priority. Dry everything as quickly as you can.  If you take items to air out at the home of a friend, relative, or a storage locker write down where it is. 
  2. Think like a thief. Call the insurance company. Get permission to remove the most valuable items in the house.  This probably means all silver, jewelry, guns, coin collections, paintings, valuable rugs and other art and antiques, etc.  You may have to wait until the insurance adjuster arrives.

What to save first?  Rescue the things that are undamaged first, not the items that are soaked.  Be sure to wear boots and rubber gloves, wash hands frequently, and cover open cuts so contaminated water doesn’t cause infections.  Put important papers in zip-lock bags and put them in a freezer.

  1. Wipe wood dry ASAP. Wipe it and other hard surfaces with a rag soaked in a mixture of Borax and hot water. Remove drawers from wood furniture.  Let them dry to reduce sticking and warping.  Don’t dry wood in the sun.  Check wood pieces for damage—warped or missing veneer or hardware.  Save any bits and pieces and store them in a bag in a drawer so they can be part of the restoration.

Later, if the wood develops white spots or a film, rub the surface with a clean cloth soaked in a solution of half ammonia, half water.

If your wooden chair frame is valuable, save it.  But sadly, you should remove and discard the upholstery.  It can’t be disinfected or cleaned enough to avoid mold or diseases.

  1. If your collectibles were in muddy water, just rinse off the dirt with clean running water, one piece at a time. Do not scrub.  It will embed the dirt or scratch glass or ceramics.  Dry with a soft cloth.

Dinner dishes and glassware must be disinfected.  No matter how clean the dishes look, you must sanitize them if they were in or near flood waters.  The easiest way is to wash them in a dishwasher.  Don’t worry about the regular rules about never putting dishes with overglaze decoration and gilding in the dishwasher.  One wash won’t do noticeable damage.

  1. Shake silver-plated silverware with hollow handles, like those on knives and teapots, to see if there is water inside the handle. If you hear swishing, you need a professional restorer.  If there is a wooden handle or other porous parts, clean the silver with hand sanitizer before polishing.

Sterling silver should also be sterilized.  It can be put in almost-boiling water, a short cycle in the dishwasher without detergent, or cleaned with hand sanitizer.

  1. Carpeting must be discarded. Oriental rugs can be saved but require a specialist. Throw rugs can be cleaned in a washing machine.  Place plastic under furniture legs to prevent colors (or rust from metal legs) from bleeding from furniture to floor.
  2. Save pieces of broken ceramic and glass items. You may repair them later or claim the loss. Put loose pieces in a plastic bag.  Mark it with the identity and where you found it.  Watch out for mold growth in the bag.
  3. Wrap soaked books and paper in plastic and store them in a freezer until you can decide what you can restore. Books and paper may look wrinkled and free of mold if they had little water damage. But check carefully.  Sometimes the inside of a book may still be damp or slightly moldy.  Put them in a warm, dry place like a sunny window.  After a day or two, take the paper outside and vacuum or brush away any mold with a soft-bristled brush.


Mold After Flooding

Molds are part of the natural environment and can be found everywhere, indoors and outdoors.  Mold is not usually a problem, unless it begins growing indoors.  This EPA webpage provides guidance about mold and moisture for homes, schools, multifamily, and commercial buildings.  

To help communicate some of the risk of mold, the EPA has also developed an Interactive Mold House Tour page.  This tour allows users to get quick glimpse of some of the most important ways to protect structures from mold by touring the Mold House.  Room-by-room, you will learn about common mold issues and how to address them. 

Visit the Mold house at

Link to the three guides described below.


  • Mold, Moisture, and Your Home”, is specifically geared toward homeowners and renters.  This guide provides more in depth information such as why mold grows, cleanup, personal safety, and control tips.


  • Mold Remediation in Commercial Structures” publication.  This guide is geared toward commercial and non-residential structures and include information such as key steps to be taken, planning remediation, cleanup methods, and a checklist for mold remediation.  These guides are all from the EPA but partner with agencies such a FEMA, the CDC, Health & Human Services, and Housing and Urban Development.


After a Flood:  Replacing Your Important Papers

Not only can homes be damaged by the severe storms, flooding, landslides or mudslides, but many survivors also may lose valuable personal documents.  The documents include everything from Social Security cards to driver licenses to credit cards.  Link to Replacing Your Important Papers for ways to retrieve lost documents.