With the flash floods in California over the past week with the thunderstorms, and the devastation we saw in New Jersey the week before, we wanted to talk to people about what to do when you think it’s “safe” to go back into your home after a flood. Of course, the first thing you should do is call us—for many reasons, most of them listed below. We also encourage you to call us first so that we can help minimize the damage and get the clean up started immediately.
As much as you’d like to get into your home and survey the damage, there are hidden dangers that you are not aware of, which is why you should send in professionals like Paul Davis Restoration. Don’t compound the problems of the flood by becoming a victim of an accident! Here are our tips below:
1. Check the exterior
Carefully walk around the perimeter of your yard and inspect your home visually. Are there any downed power lines or electrical connections that may be in contact with the water? You do not want to get mixed up with that combination. If you smell gas, there’s almost definitely a gas leak, which could be ignited by a spark if there is a downed power line. For either of these problems, you need to call the proper utility company immediately. If water is still standing near your home, check the outside walls carefully for cracks or bulges that can indicate water pressure pushing from the inside. If this is the case, do not enter your home, as it’s possible the house could collapse while you’re inside. Be wary of porches and overhangs which may have been weakened by the rushing water during the flood.
2. Disconnect utilities
After your external check, disconnect both the electrical and the gas supply. If the gas is turned on, you have a chance of fire or explosion in your home. And for electrical supply—everyone knows that when electricity and water mix, electrocution follows shortly after. But please note: if the only way to shut these off is to enter the home, please don’t do so until it is deemed safe to go in by professionals. People die every year from electrocution in flood-related cases.
If the utility company has shut off the gas or electricity to the street, please still shut off the supply to your home. This way you won’t be surprised when the utility company turns it back on without prior notice, subjecting you to potential shock hazards.
3. Be prepared
Here’s a list of items to wear or bring with you when you enter your home after a flood:
- Waterproof rubber boots or waders to protect your feet and legs
- A 95-micron mask to filter out pollutants and mold particles in the air
- Rubber or latex gloves to protect against hazards like sewage, chemicals and oil in the water
- Hard hats and protective clothing
- First-aid kit
- A flashlight
- A dry wooden stick to use to turn off breakers, unplug cords or scare off any animals
- Cleaning supplies, including broom, mop, disinfectant, water hoses
- Trash bags, trash cans and dumpsters
4. Don’t assume it’s clean and safe
The reason that professional water damage restoration companies exist is for good reason—there is no way that an individual without the right tools and equipment can properly dry a home after a flood. Even using a pump sprayer and bleach water, you will not be able to sterilize your home and kill all of the mold that can be dangerous to the health of you and your family, and potentially fatal. This is not to be taken lightly! Most insurance companies cover our services, and we are experts with making and executing successful claims. Don’t risk your health by trying to clean up after a major flood on your own!
Also, there’s a danger if you are using a pump and you remove the water too fast. This water could be all that’s holding up the walls around you—if you pull out the water too quickly, the walls could give way and your entire house will be destroyed. Not to mention the danger to you or any other people inside at the time.
Paul Davis Inland Empire has all the latest equipment and tools necessary to get your home back in order, back to how it was before the flood, quickly and properly. Don’t waste valuable time by trying to clean it yourself and causing further damage to your home, and causing potential hazards to your health. Call us now for an estimate: we’re open 24 hours a day to serve you when disaster strikes: (877) 732-8471 or use our online form.