Restoration Specialists know that witnessing your house and the things you love become submerged in floods is devastating. That’s why we’ve put together some handy information for you in the event of a flood and how to make sure you are safe while salvaging most of your property and belongings.
Remaining flood water can be quite difficult to identify and effectively clear, leading to the long-lasting damage of your house’s foundations, joists and underfloor areas. Direct water damage can result in:
- Physical displacement of building materials such as sand and gravel
- Rotting and weakening of infrastructure
- Damaged plasterboard and carpet
- Swelling and distortion of materials such as wood which can cause the house’s foundation to rust and buckle if not treated
- Burst pipes which may contribute to the creation of or widening holes underneath the house and waterlogging materials
- Cracks and damages to brickwork
- Short circuiting and internal damage to electrical, wiring and heating systems
Apart from the immediate dangers that floods may pose, lingering water within your house’s infrastructure and piping can cause some serious health risks. Floods composed of black or grey water sources such as from rivers or sewage pipes often contain dangerous contaminants such as animal and human faeces, oils and industrial chemicals. If black or grey water contaminates your house’s water system and is consumed, this may place elders, children, pregnant women and immuno-compromised individuals at risk of becoming seriously ill. As we cannot see all the bacteria and toxic materials within the flood water, it is safer to assume that a flooded house is contaminated and carrying transmitters for air-borne diseases.
Areas in your house that have been both affected and unaffected by floodwaters, run the risk of developing mould and mildew. In the case of areas directly impacted by floodwaters, water saturated materials and damp air will provide ideal environmental temperatures for mould and mildew to form in just 48 hours. Unaffected areas can indirectly be impacted by the growth of mould and mildew due to the damage from affected areas causing insufficient ventilation and creating similar ideal environments for the mould.
Being aware and proactive about mould and mildew after a flood. If left untreated, the mould and mildew can cause significant health problems for occupants, especially for those with respiratory related illnesses such as asthma.
We know it’s really tempting to start clearing away the flood water and working towards drying your house. However, it is imperative for your safety and the safety of other occupants that precautions such as turning off the electrical and gas supplies, are taken to minimise risks to the people that live in the house.
Before accessing the main electrical unit, check if there is water surrounding the unit. If yes, do not step into it to get to the unit but rather call an electrician as soon as possible. Water and electricity do not mix well so before turning power back on, make sure a qualified electrician has given you permission to do so after they have thoroughly cleaned out and dried the unit.
Similarly, if there is a smell of gas in the air, call your gas company immediately and leave the house.
Prior to beginning the flood cleanup process, ensure you have the appropriate safety gear to wear. Essential safety gear includes:
- A ventilated mask such as the N95
- Rubber boots to protect you from any shocks while wading working in flood water
- Safety goggles
- Long pants, long sleeve shirt and gloves to avoid your skin from coming in contact with any mould and bacteria
It is also important to be aware that if you or an occupant of the house has respiratory disease such as asthma, discussing appropriate safety measures with a doctor before beginning cleanup is crucial to prevent serious health risks.
After you’ve ensured that everyone is safe and that the floodwater is safe to wade through, begin removing it as quickly as possible. Tools such as buckets and containers can be used to carry out the water. Once the water has reduced to a level where it can no longer be carried out, a mop or a wet/dry shop vacuum will be useful to remove the rest. When clearing out the water, make sure to keep an eye out for wet mud and debris so that you can remove it before it dries and becomes crusted.
Be sure to check whether the wallpaper, insulation, plasterboard and panelling is wet, as they may also need to be removed to ensure your house is dry from the inside out.
Depending on your insurance policy, you may be covered for flooding. Contact your insurance provider at your earliest convenience and remember to take photos and videos of the damage before and after removing the water.
The unfortunate part of cleaning up after a flood is that you may or may not be able to save household items and other valuables. As a rule of thumb, if an item cannot be sanitised such as a book and has sat in floodwater for more than 48 hours, then it must be disposed of. As mentioned, floodwater carries contaminants that can pose a risk to your health and items left in it can become an ideal environment for mould to grow.
It is also important that you place items such as rugs, pillows, and cushions in plastic bags and not simply place them in a garbage bin or on the side of the road. This prevents cross-contamination to other surfaces and sources of water from occurring. If your house has carpet, remember that carpet cleaning and drying is necessary to prevent contaminated water from remaining within your household.
For hard surfaces, make sure to use a strong anti-bacterial cleaner to kill all germs. If not cleaned properly, the bacteria left on hard surfaces can develop into a mould infection.
Contacting reputable contractors to assist you with the restoration of your house is a key step in ensuring its future structural integrity and your safety. Reputable contractors will be able to provide you with an accurate assessment of the damage endured by your house and suggest some preventative measures that can be taken by yourself and incorporated into the infrastructure of your house with the aim of mitigating any damage caused by floodwaters in the future.
At Restoration Specialists, we understand the importance of securing your future safety and the structural integrity of your house. Our flood restoration services guarantee to restore your house to its former condition. We can dry your carpets, repair flood water damage, are available 24/7 and work quickly to ensure that mould does not develop, and your house material does not rot. Give Restoration Specialists a call today on 0800 332 664.