1. Before entering your home, be sure it is structurally sound.

* Make sure there are no live wires and electricity is cut off. Check for loose concrete on ceilings, plywood, or other fixtures that might collapse.

* Check with your power or water supplier first if electricity or water is safe to use in your area.

* Structural damage from storms and floods are not as bad as when earthquakes hit. However, in severe cases, there is a danger that soil underneath a house has softened from prolonged exposure to water that can result to erosion.

2. Check your utilities.

* Things that usually get damaged are electrical systems, plumbing, wooden or laminated boards, or cabinets. Some doors and walls can also collapse under intense water pressure.

* Inspect electrical outlets for damage, and call an electrician to check whether they are still safe to use.

* Mudflow could clog pipes, which can be remedied by power-hosing. Repiping jobs are called for when the mud hardens.

3. Clear and clean as much as you can.

* Make sure there are no objects lying around when you pump out water.

* Take out all the water inside the house using pails or water pumps. Prolonged water saturation can lead to many problems like carpet discoloration, warped wood, or even mosquito and pest infestations when water stagnates not only inside the home, but in surrounding areas.

* Flooded basements where generators are located are also at risk for oil spills. These can lead to foul-smelling odors that can be cleaned out by industrial chemicals.

* Clean up all the mud inside the house and do not allow mud to harden. If your floors are made of ceramic tiles, buy a bristle brush and remove water and mud.

* For houses with wooden flooring or carpets, professional help is needed, especially if these were submerged underwater.

* Sometimes, there is no water or power to facilitate cleaning or the use of electrical equipment like water pumps.

4. Assess the damage.

* Decide what to keep, what to repair, and what to throw away.

* Take note of your budget and prioritize which rooms or furniture you want to save. Take note that you can survive without a lot of things, so it might help to stick to the essentials. Sometimes it is cheaper to replace items than to repair them. It could also be cheaper in the long run to repair furniture en masse than if you do it piecemeal.

* If you need to seek a professional opinion on which possessions to save, be sure to get a second opinion from someone you trust.

* If something is swollen, such as laminated flooring, chances are they can’t be used again. Laminated wood is common in the Philippines because of an existing log-ban. These materials are spongy and get warped when they are saturated. Concrete houses, however, can withstand a lot of water pressure.

* Air-drying furniture is excellent but professional equipment can speed up the job. Carpets and upholstery are trickier to repair, but professional services can offer drying services.

5. Spot check.

* Address lingering problems like foul smell from festering fungi or bacteria, which usually form on moist surfaces. Grease, oil, and mud can also add to this problem.

* Consult with a serviceman which chemicals can best be used to address these problems.

6. Renovate when you need to.

* Consider constructing an attic or putting storage spaces on higher floors as pre-emptive measures.
* Renovate only after careful consideration or upon recommendation by a professional surveyor.
* Get a municipal permit for building renovations, only if the cost of renovation is more than P50,000.

Report based on ANC Shoptalk episode.