[custom_frame_right][/custom_frame_right] Since Tuesday, September 10, some areas of New Mexico have received almost 10 inches of rain, with Albuquerque receiving almost four, a record for the city. The resulting flooding has led to at least one death and damage to many roads and homes in the area. There have been sinkholes, power outages, road closings, and Governor Susana Martinez issued state of emergency.
As our community bands together, many are asking what they can do to help – or where they can turn for help. At SECU, we are dedicated to our members. We wanted to reach out to all of our members here and provide what help and guidance we can.
If you need help …
If you have questions about road closings, predicted rainfall, or other general questions, you can utilize the following resources:
The Red Cross
Shelters have been opened in Glenwood and at San Felipe Pueblo on Sunday to help displaced residents and stranded motorists. The Red Cross is also providing drinking water.
If you need immediate assistance, you can contact your local police department or the Department of Health at 505-476-9635.
Working with Insurance
If you experienced damage to your home or automobile, you will likely have to make an insurance claim. Be sure to follow these tips, adapted from the Better Business Bureau, at www.bbb.org. :
- Contact your adjuster immediately. This gets the process started quickly and will ensure that you take advantage of all benefits provided by your insurance company.
- Document the damage. Be sure to take pictures and/or video, going from room to room. Make a thorough, detailed list of your belongings.
- Make repairs if necessary. You can be held liable for damage that occurs after the disaster, such as water getting into the home. Be sure to board up broken windows and put a tarp over any holes in the roof. If you do make repairs, keep all of your receipts for reimbursement. It is important to note, however, that you should not make any permanent repairs without approval from your insurance company, in the event your insurance will not reimburse you without their authorization.
- If your house was destroyed by a disaster, you may qualify for additional assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Visit www.fema.gov for more information.
The tips below, adapted from floodsmart.gov, will help you stay safe after a flood, as you work to rebuild.
- Check for structural damage before re-entering your home to avoid being trapped in a building collapse.
- items may require disposal, so keep photographs of these items.
- Keep power off until an electrician has inspected your system for safety.
- Boil water for drinking and food preparation until authorities tell you that your water supply is safe.
- Prevent mold by removing wet contents immediately.
- Wear gloves and boots to clean and disinfect. Wet items should be cleaned with a pine-oil cleanser and bleach, completely dried, and monitored for several days for any fungal growth and odors.
Some additional tips include removing all valuables from your home if it will not be occupied while repairs are being made, hire experts to help you evaluate the damage, and hire contractors for repairs who come highly recommended and are bonded and insured.
Follow the tips below, adapted from Edmunds.com, if your car received damage due to flooding:
Study your insurance. If you have comprehensive insurance, damage to your car because of a natural disaster is likely covered. If you don’t have comprehensive insurance, check your homeowner’s or renter’s policy.
Keep records. Document all the damage done to your vehicle, including photos from various angles, pictures of the inside of the car, and where the car was located at the time of damage. Be sure to take pictures before you clean any of the damage up.
Be persistent. When there is a disaster, there will be many, many claims filed in your area. Filing quickly will help move the process along, but stay in touch with your adjuster, ask questions, and follow up if you don’t hear anything.
For more assistance with home or auto claims and if you need additional help due to a natural disaster, visit disasteassistance.gov or redcross.org.
If you want to help …
If your home or automobile was spared any damage, but you see people in your neighborhood or community struggling, there are things you can do to help.
Donate. The Red Cross sends teams of people equipped to help provide shelter, food, and medical care to areas where a natural disaster has struck. You may also want to donate food, clothing, and household items to charities who can send them out to those in need. If you personally know someone who lost belongings, ask them what they need and donate your gently used items or buy them something.
A greatly appreciated item for someone struggling with loss due to natural disaster is gift cards. They can be used for food, gas, or clothing, and are incredibly helpful as victims wait for insurance claims to be approved and money provided. We have MasterCard gift cards available at our branches. They can be loaded with any amount and used a most retailers.
Jump in. If you see neighbors struggling with clean up, an extra set of hands will always be appreciated. Bring over cleaning supplies, and get to work.
If the flooding continues …
With more rain predicted in upcoming days, it is vital that you keep yourself and loved ones safe. The following list, from floodsmart.gov, will help you remain safe if flooding continues.
- If flooding occurs, go to higher ground and avoid areas subject to flooding.
- Do not attempt to walk across flowing streams or drive through flooded roadways.
- If water rises in your home before you evacuate, go to the top floor, attic, or roof.
- Listen to a battery-operated radio for the latest storm information.
- Turn off all utilities at the main power switch and close the main gas valve if advised to do so.
- If you’ve come in contact with floodwaters, wash your hands with soap and disinfected water.