Most people have the common sense to stay out of flood water while it is still rising. The unpredictable currents and visible debris are generally enough to keep people out. However, once the storm has passed and the water starts to go down, it is still important to take steps to keep you and your family safe. If your home is flooded, there are several rules you should follow to ensure everyone comes through the event unharmed.
Ensure That The Utilities Are Off
Before you go anywhere near the flooded parts of your home, you need to be absolutely sure that the utilities are shut off to your home, especially the electricity. Water and electricity simply doesn't mix. If you can reach it safely, you should shut the power off at your breaker box. However, since these are generally located in the basement, it may very well be that you can't get to it. Even if you can, you should also have the power company shut off the power from their end. This will give you an added layer of security until you can be sure that there is no damage to your home's electrical system.
The main problem with a flood and your utilities is that water is a good conductor of electricity. A few puddles probably won't matter, but standing water can connect anyone who enters it to live outlets or any appliances are located within the flooded area, giving them a dangerous dose of electrical current.
Depending on the damage, natural gas lines could also suffer damage. Thanks to the scent added to the gas, this isn't the invisible danger that electricity is, but you should also be on the lookout for problems with it.
Stay Out of the Water and Areas That Got Flooded
Electricity is not the only possible danger that is lurking in the water. As mentioned, you probably know to stay out of any running water during a flood, but turning off the electricity in your home doesn't make the flood waters in your basement completely safe. Flood waters pick up bits of anything they come across, and that can include dangerous chemicals.
In addition, sewers often get backed up during a major flood, and the raw sewage gets mixed in with the flood waters. As you can imagine, this can create a toxic combination that you don't want anywhere near you.
If you must go into the water to start work, make sure your skin is completely protected from the water, and clean yourself thoroughly with fresh water as soon as you are done working.
Clean Up and Dry Out As Soon As Possible
Even once the water in your home starts going down, the danger is not gone. Mold grows quickly in the warm and damp environment of a recently flooded home. Depending on the depth of the water and how long your house was flooded, many items, such as carpeting and drywall, will simply have to be replaced. Furniture, appliances and personal items are often fully or partially salvageable, but you have to deal with them on a case-by-case basis.
The most important part of salvaging as much as possible while avoiding dangerous mold is to start as soon as possible. Working with a water damage restoration company is the best way to do this. Their teams can move quickly and can use their expertise to advise you on what you can keep and what must be discarded for safety reasons.
Keeping yourself, your family, and your pets out of danger is no small feat, and this is on top of the stress of dealing with the flooding itself. However, the people you hold close to you are more important than ever during this stressful time, and keeping them safe is the most important part of dealing with this event. Visit websites like http://www.waterdamage702.com for more information about how to safely handle flood damage.