ST. LOUIS, Mo. – A “State of Emergency” is the first step required by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to seek federal money for disaster relief. Missouri issued one after record rainfall hit the St. Louis area Tuesday. It could take some time for the federal money to come to Missouri. If you have experienced damage from the flash flooding then there are some things you should know to file a claim later.

It can be difficult to fill out a government form after going through a natural disaster. There are some things you should know before filing for assistance. You will need to know your home address and the address of the place you may be staying now. You will also need to provide your Social Security number and those of your family members. Learn more about applying for disaster assistance here.

FEMA has also provided these tips for cleaning up after flooding:

  • Personal safety is always the highest priority when entering buildings damaged by floodwater.
  • Check for structural damage before re-entering your home to avoid being trapped in a building collapse.
  • Keep power off until an electrician has inspected your system for safety.
  • Turn off the gas. Be alert for gas leaks.
  • Look before you step. After a flood, the ground and floors are covered with debris, including broken bottles and nails. Floors and stairs that have been covered with mud can be very slippery.
  • Take photos of any floodwater in your home and of damaged items for insurance purposes.
  • Rescue the most valuable items, but never attempt to salvage belongings at the expense of your own safety.
  • Wear long sleeves, sturdy shoes or waterproof boots, and plastic or rubber gloves during cleanup.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and clean water or use a hand-cleaning gel with alcohol in it.
  • Mold can form within 48 hours; you will need to work fast. The goal is to reduce the humidity and temperature around your treasures as you proceed to clean and dry them. If you do encounter extensive mold, use protective gear such as gloves, goggles, and an N95 or N100 face mask, available at most hardware stores.