When deciding what to do after a flood in your home, your health and safety should be your top concern. Aside from the mess and damaged possessions, a flooded basement can present hazards that require special precautions. Depending on the source of the water, bacteria, and disease from raw sewage and other pollutants can enter your home. Flooding can also affect electrical and gas systems in your home, creating the possibility of fire hazards and electrical shock. Additionally, leftover moisture and water even after cleanup can lead to mould and mildew, triggering problems for people in your home with asthma or other health conditions. Here are some important things to do after a flood to minimize the damage to your home and your loved ones.
Shut off Electricity
If your home is beginning to flood, one of the first things you should do to protect yourself and your family is shutting off all the electricity to the areas that could be flooded. Even if the flood waters have not reached the outlets, the risk of someone getting electrocuted when working in the area is still high. Appliances in the basement such as the furnace, freezer, washer, or dryer, should be shut off if your house is beginning to flood. You should also shut off the power to these areas during heavy storms.
While you are turning off the electrical breakers or unscrewing the fuses, don’t stand in water. Use a dry piece of wood or a plastic or rubber pole to turn the switches off, and be sure to stand on something plastic or wooden that does not conduct electricity. If the flood waters are already close to the electrical entrance box, call the power supplier in your location and have them disconnect the electrical supply to your home. Be very careful when dealing with electricity during a flood.
Inspect Your Sump Pump
Regularly checking your sump pump can help you prevent flooding in your home. Clean the pump and pit, and test it by pouring water into it. Make sure that the discharge hose is delivering the water for several feet away from your home to a well-drained area that slopes down from your house. If the outlet is too close to the foundation of your home or is on flat ground, the water can drift back towards the house and drain down into the foundation. You should not run sump pump water into a rural septic system, because the water can saturate the drain field. If you live in a city, running this water into the sanitary systems can overload it, causing a sewage backup.
Prevent Sewer Backup
Sewer backups usually occur when storm water enters the sanitary sewer, causing the system to overload. This overload causes a backflow into the house, usually through the basement. To prevent this from happening in your home, be sure to plug or cap all sewer openings in the basement: floor drains, sinks, showers, toilets, etc. You can use wooden plugs, expandable plugs, screwed caps, or other options.
Move Valuables to a Higher Location
Another precaution to take to minimize the damage of a flood is to keep your valuables in a higher location. Items that are irreplaceable such as family photo albums, high school yearbooks, tax records, and other financial documents, personal DVDs or videotapes, and household inventories should be placed on high shelves or in plastic, waterproof containers. Important paperwork should always be copied and stored in a safer location that is less likely to be affected by a flood.
Anchor Fuel Tanks
A fuel tank has the risk of tipping over or floating during a flood. This can cause a fuel spill and a potential fire hazard. It is twice as difficult to clean up a home that has fuel in the flood waters, so anchoring your tank will make things safer and easier. Make sure any vents or fill line openings are above the projected flood levels.
Plan and Practice an Evacuation Scenario
Floods can be unpredictable and can occur at any time of the year, which is why it is important to practice an evacuation scenario with your family. Keep your valuables close by so they can be grabbed when you and your loved ones need to leave your home. Contact your local emergency government office to find out what the safest routes are in order to find shelter during a flood. You can also make a plan with some of your family or friends to spend a few days there until your house is cleaned.
Call Flood Services Canada for Immediate Help
The steps you take after a flood in your home are crucial to protecting your property and keeping your family safe from hazards. Your instinct may be to grab a bucket and carry the water out of your home, but the safest way to deal with it is to contact the professionals. They will be able to determine the source of the water and whether it is dangerous or not. They will also have the right equipment to unplug electronics, shut off electricity, remove hazards, and clean up your basement or flooded area. With their high-tech drying equipment, they will remove all traces of moisture, so you won’t need to worry about mould showing up in the weeks after.
If you need quick water damage restoration, Flood Services Canada can help you. Our services include 24/7 sewage, water damage, and flood cleanup services and we will use the best techniques, personnel, and equipment to ensure your home is clean, safe, and dry as soon as possible.
Contact us at (416) 302-2107 to learn more about our services, or use our emergency hotline at (416) 999-3930 to get our rapid-response teams deployed to your location.