Unexpected floods from rising tides, plumbing mishaps, or severe weather events often come as a surprise to homeowners who don’t know what to do. When a flood occurs, safety is the number one concern, after the water recedes. Here are four steps to take, if you and your family are caught in extreme flood waters at your home or business.
In some cases, residents receive warning before a flood occurs. Be sure to adhere to government directions that tell you what you are to do in case of a flood. If your officials warn residents to evacuate, pay attention. Experts evaluate weather systems to ensure they give homeowners the best information that is available to ensure safety. Choosing to stay in a home during a mandatory evacuation is not smart, because you’re risking your life.
You may want to shut off all electrical power to the house to ensure that electrical currents don’t move through the water that floods your residence. Also, be careful when leaving a flooded area. Danger still exists outside of the home in the form of falling trees, down power lines, and blocked roads. Floods are life threatening. So, be careful.
Once the flood is over, you’ll have to look for structural damage. Have a professional evaluate your home to determine whether it is safe to inhabit. Call your insurance agent. The insurance company will want access to the property to evaluate the damage before paying your claim. Checking for mold is also a priority. Toss any insulation, plaster, furniture, or wall paper that flood waters touched. Be sure to wear protective gear, such as gloves and breathing masks when inspecting your home or business after a flood. Flood waters often carry bacteria and excrement, not to mention the resulting mold spores that can quickly grow in damp environments. Mold will negatively impact the air quality in your home, if left untreated.
It’s time to clean up. It’s best to let the professionals handle restoration. If you choose to do it yourself, immediately take all damaged property out of the house to a dumpster or to the curb for disposal. Suck up all water, using a wet vacuum, and dry out the basement levels. Disinfect twice, using a powerful cleaner, like bleach.