Lake County authorities are urging home and business owners affected by flooding to fill out an online report to document their damages.
The reports will help the county compile an initial damage assessment, which officials will use to make their case for federal disaster relief.
The county also is working with municipalities and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency to conduct the assessment, and the U.S. Civil Air Patrol is taking aerial photos of flooded areas as part of the effort.
Property owners in both incorporated and unincorporated areas can report damage online.
Authorities say residents at this point should conduct only emergency cleanup, like removing water-damaged items, while leaving other repairs, such as replacing dry wall or carpeting, until after the damage assessment period. Doing nonemergency repair work before the damage assessment process is complete may cause the repairs to be ineligible for federal assistance, according to the county.
The county also recommends property owners contact their insurance company to determine coverage and start the claim process, document damages with photos, and keep all receipts related to the cleanup and repair of your property.
Officials say they're receiving reports of scams targeting flood damage victims. Residents should be aware of whom they are talking to and avoid giving any personal information over the phone.
Other notes for flood victims:
• Floodwaters may contaminate wells. Drinking and/or washing with water from a private well that has been flooded is not advised. Residents on private wells need to have their water tested after floodwaters have receded. The county health department is offering free water testing to residents whose wells are affected. Contact Environmental Health Services at (847) 377-8020.
• Owners of flood-damaged properties who are seeking financial assistance from banks and lending institutions will need to show proof of ownership in order to secure loans. The Lake County recorder's office will be working closely with government officials and affected property owners to provide any necessary recorded documents at no cost to flood victims. To obtain a free certified copy of the deed, contact the recorder of deeds at (847) 377-2575.
• The Red Cross has two reception centers open to assist residents displaced by flooding. They are at Magee Middle School, 500 N. Cedar Lake Road, Round Lake, and Jefferson Middle School, 600 S. Lewis Ave., Waukegan.