Recent rains have caused severe flooding in Pickens and Gilmer Counties. The 11Alive Help Desk has tips for protecting your home before, an after, a flood hits.
RESOURCE GUIDE: Staying safe in flood conditions
RELATED: Severe flooding reported in Gilmer, Pickens
Knowing what to do before a flood hits could not only keep you safe but cut down on damage as well. Listen to your local radio and TV station for up-to-date information and know if your area is at risk.
Also, knowing the difference between a flood watch and warning will help you. A flood watch is when a flood is possible in your area. A flood warning is when flooding is already occurring or will occur soon in your area. If you are told to evacuate, do so immediately. Having a disaster kit ready will help if an evacuation is issued. Make sure your kit includes first aid, medications, extra clothes, food and water.
There are multiple ways to reduce damage from a flood. If you know of a potential flood, move furniture and valuables to a higher floor in your home. Raise your furnace, water heater and electric panel if they could be damaged by flooding.
Double check your insurance to make sure you have flood coverage. The Georgia Fire and Safety and Insurance Commissioner's Office urges you to act immediately after flood damage by contacting your insurance company. Document the damage related to your claim by making a list of items and taking photos. Coordinate with your insurance company to get a restoration company to dry, clean and decontaminate everything affected.
For questions about homeowners or other types of insurance call the Georgia Fire and Safety and Insurance Commissioner's Office at 404-656-2070, or toll free at 1-800-656-2298. Phone lines are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Residents of Pickens or Gilmer County that experienced damage or have needs can contact the local Red Cross chapter at 770-532-8453. The Red Cross opened a shelter at Gilmer Middle School located at 1860 S. Main Street, Ellijay Georgia.