Whether it is caused by groundwater, a plumbing malfunction or a natural disaster, a flood can be a devastating and overwhelming experience. If your home has been flooded, there are several things you will need to do within the first 24 to 48 hours following the flooding. Remember that safety is the most important thing, so never attempt to enter your home during an emergency situation. Here are a few tips to help you recover as soon as possible.
Safety, Safety, Safety
If the flood was severe enough that you had to leave your home, it is essential that you remain safe upon returning to your home. Before entering your home, you should check for any visible structural damage, such as cracks or holes in the foundation, loose and crumbling foundation and outer walls and warping on the exterior walls. It is also important that you contact your utility company if you suspect there is damage to the gas, electric, water or sewer lines. Before entering your yard or your house, always check to make sure there aren’t any power lines down anywhere on the property. Some parts of the house may be damaged or collapsed, so approach the entry with extreme caution.
Take Pictures and Call Your Insurance Company
Before you remove any water, attempt to dry your house out and begin the cleaning process, it is essential that you thoroughly document the damage. Take photos or videos that you can submit to your insurance provider, and notify your insurance provider as soon as possible after the flood.
Protect Your Health
Flood water can be contaminated by household chemicals or sewage. Even if the water in your home appears clear, when you are entering your home to clean it, make sure to wear high, waterproof boots, rubber gloves and eye protection.
Preparing to Cleanup
Before you begin removing the water, the first thing you need to do is open all of the windows to allow the air to circulate. When you are ready to begin removing the water, there are a couple of different ways you can remove it, including using a sump pump or a wet/dry vacuum. If you do not have access to either of these pieces of equipment, you can use buckets to carry the water outside, but be careful, so you don’t hurt yourself.
- Once you have removed as much water as possible, it is essential that you begin drying out all affected areas to prevent mold. Use fans throughout the house to dry damp areas. Make sure to point the fans directly into areas that are the most susceptible to mold, such as corners and below the baseboards.
- Throw out anything that is not salvageable, including carpet and padding, upholstered furniture, mattresses and most paper products. Any item that cannot be washed, repaired or disinfected should be thrown away.
- To prevent mold, thoroughly clean all hard surfaces with hot water and laundry soap or dishwashing liquid. Once the area has been cleaned, apply a light coat of bleach over the entire area. If the mold is in an area larger than 10-feet, it is highly recommended that you contact a mold remediation company to clean and disinfect all areas that are affected.
Keep in mind that cleaning up after a flood is a time-consuming process, so take your time and do not rush through the cleaning; doing so may increase the risk of mold. Always throw away any food items that came in contact with the flood water. If there isn’t any power in your area, remember to have a flashlight and extra batteries with you at all times. You should avoid working in your home after dark when the power is out.
All of us here at DeSola Glass, Art & Frame Gallery are thinking of our customers and their families affected by the flood. Contact us with any questions you may have as you begin to return home.