After a flood, water damage can be substantial. Whether you were hit by a major storm, a fire that required the authorities to spray your home with their hoses, or simply had a burst pipe, your primary concern needs to be protecting your valuables. Furniture, books, and the flooring itself could be destroyed by the onslaught of moisture. To get everything back out of disarray, you'll likely need to depend on professionals who make it their business to help homeowners in just such a situation. Before they arrive, however, there are some things you can do to prevent things from getting worse.
One of the most important steps you can take to minimize water damage is to get some air flowing through your home. Unless you're literally standing up to your ankles in flooding, getting some fans moving will help to begin the drying process. Be extremely careful to avoid any possibility of electrocution. Keep the fans plugged in far away from the moisture. If you can, open up some windows and doors to assist the air flow. You'll need to be conscious of mildew and mold forming during this precarious time.
Any carpets and rugs will likely have to go. Carpetsparticularly ones that are deepwill often be entirely ruined by a good flood. The drying process may get the top coat dry without touching the inner layers. This leads to additional opportunities for mold to grow. Because it will be located on the flooring beneath the carpeting, you may not even know it is there. Thinner carpets may be able to be recovered. If you have rugs, take them up and hang them out or put them through the dryer.
You'll want to get your furniture out of the path of danger as soon as possible. Water damage companies may be able to help restore and rescue your furniture, but if they are left sitting in moisture for too long it could become an impossible task. Find some blocks and put your furniture up on them to keep them out of harm's way. If this isn't possible, simply remove the furniture altogether. Talk with your restoration company and see what water dispensers manufacturers they advice about alternative options if neither of these makes sense for your situation.
Make sure you contact your insurance agent during this time. Recovering from water damage can be costly and there may be things that are altogether unrecoverable. You don't want to pay for these things out of pocket if it can be avoided. Take pictures, consult with an insurance adjuster, and make sure you get the money you're owed.