There is no doubt that water is a great blessing and essential for life on Earth, but water can also be very destructive. Particularly when it comes in the form of a flood, wreaking havoc and destroying anything in its path from cars to homes and nearly everything else.
According to statistics, in the last 20 years, flooding has been the most common naturally occurring disaster accounting for 43% of the recorded events worldwide. Moreover, the problem seems to be getting worse due to climate change. Future floods are expected to be more frequent and bigger according to many experts.
If unfortunately, your house has been flooded after heavy rainfall, a ruptured waterline or hurricane, you need to act quickly to limit the damage and to avoid further problems down the road on your property. Keep reading the following article to see what measures should be taken if you face a flooding situation in your Neighborhood.
Planning ahead for flood prevention
Since you cannot stop flood water from entering your house if it is a major flood or a river overflow, there are certain precautions you can take beforehand to prevent small to mild rain and flooding situations.
Some of these include:
- Keep your rain gutters clear of debris that might disrupt the water flow
- Ensure that the downspouts direct water away from your basement
- Watch out for small leaks in your doors, windows, and roof, and fix them promptly
- Verify that your sump pump is working properly and keep a standby power generator for it
- During winter, remove snow from the roof and avoid snow buildup around drains
- Make sure that the ground slopes away from your house
Restoring Your Home After Flooding
When a flood does strike your home, the decision of what to let go and what to salvage is very difficult for many homeowners. The restoration or rebuilding process might take months or even years in the worst case scenarios. Two to three days after the flood has hit your house, you must get back and remove all the things that were touched by flood water because it is highly dangerous and can impose threats to your health. Flooded areas are ripe for Human health concerns including hypothermia, bacteria infections and mold But in case of intense flooding, you need to be particularly aware of other physical dangers such as making sure that your make sure that the house is structurally safe to enter and be cautious of electrical hazards both inside and outside your home.
First of all, take a deep breath and calm your fears. It is normal to feel overwhelmed in such situations. Watching your beloved home being damaged by a flood is heart-wrenching, let yourself grieve and process the loss. Things might take time but they will get better eventually.
Ask For Help
Most people tackle the initial stages of clearing out water-soaked furniture, appliances, carpets, as well as the removal of drywall themselves. However, if you are not able to do so alone, there are plenty of non-profit organizations who volunteer to help after house flooding. Also, you can ask friends, family, neighbors, or private contractors to help you out in the restoration process.
The Road To Recovery
- Get All the Personal Protective Equipment
You need to keep in mind that floodwater is very hazardous – carrying toxic chemicals, mud, raw sewage, and other harmful substances – so, prepare yourself with all the necessary personal protective equipment like rubber boots, gloves, and clothes before entering a flooded house. Do not let the floodwater come in direct contact with your eyes, nose, or skin as it might be highly contaminated with disease-causing organisms.
- Document The Damage
Before diving into cleaning, pull out your smartphone, take pictures and film the entire damage caused by the flood. The photos and videos will help you when it comes time to file an insurance claim.
- Cut Out Electricity, Gas, And Water Supplies
Remember, safety is the priority. Cut out electricity, gas, and water supplies of your home to prevent electrocution and other related hazards. Seek the help of a professional or a neighbor if you are not sure how to do it properly yourself.
- Pump Out The Water
The first step of cleaning is eliminating any standing water. Which can be done by pumping, mopping, and opening clogged drains. But do it in stages, as pumping a lot of water at a time might collapse the walls of your basement because powerful pumps throw out water with high pressure.
- Remove Everything
You need to remove any and everything touched by the floodwater. Mattresses, couches, cushions, pillows, and other related stuff should be discarded because water seeps inside these. Set solid wood furniture, family photos, etc. out to dry, but toss everything else. Carpets and carpet pads should also be ripped apart.
- Clean And Disinfect The Area
Throw away all the goods that cannot be disinfected. Use several bactericidal agents in every inch of your house to kill any potential pathogens that the flood water may contain. Anything that touched or had been splashed by flood water needs to be sanitized. Many professionals recommend wiping or cleaning the surfaces with a diluted bleach solution, which contains one gallon of clean water and one-fourth cup of bleach.
- Don’t Forget The Hidden Spaces
Be sure to check for standing water in hidden spots like drawers, cabinets, and closets. The water may be trapped in the base of your kitchen island. Check all such spots and remove the water carefully. Afterward, disinfect these places as well or consider replacing them.
- Preventing Mold
If even the slightest moisture remains in your house after all the cleaning process it will haunt you long after you are finished cleaning up. Molds develop within 24 hours of water exposure and continue to grow if not taken care of promptly. Fans and dehumidifiers can be used to speed up the drying process, or you can open doors and windows for better ventilation and air circulation. Incase mold is present there, wear a respirator before cleaning it to filter out the spores.
If you reside in a flood-prone area, always be prepared for the worst case scenarios. Take the necessary precautions and equip yourself with the relevant strategies and tools that can come in handy. When push comes to shove, the smartest thing you can do is to keep yourself calm. Analyze all aspects of the situation and then decide wisely what will be best for you and your loved ones.
If you or someone you know has a property that has been damaged by a flood and going through the recovery process is too difficult or painful there is one other option. There are specially qualified Real Estate Investors who will purchase flood and water damaged properties in as is condition. For many homeowners simply selling and leaving the cleanup process to someone else is the best choice. This option allows the homeowner to begin the process of looking for a new home with no bad memories or clean up and they can move on with their lives.