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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Flooded House Do's and Don'ts

OAKVILLE, IA - JUNE 16:  Hogs with their snout...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
By Carolyn Ethington

If your home has been hit by flooded due to a broken pipe, spring runoff, or backed up sewer, your first instinct is probably to start removing the water right away by whatever means are readily at hand. However, there are right responses and wrong responses to a flooded home and for safety's sake it's essential to know the difference. Here are some do's and don'ts to help you mitigate the problem quickly, safely, and effectively and preserve as many of your belongings as possible.
--The first thing to do is always to safeguard the safety of your family and pets. If the flooding is severe, have them stay at a neighbor's or family member's house at least until help arrives.
--The second thing to do is to call a good disaster cleanup company in your area: you want professionals on the scene as soon as possible who have the right equipment and the right training to bring about the most positive outcome to a negative situation.
--Do remove paintings, other art objects, and priceless photographs to a safe place right away: this involves making very fast mental prioritizations and then acting on your decisions quickly. Remember: the expensive stereo can be easily replaced, but photos of your children cannot.
--Do use buckets, clean towels, and mops to remove as much of the water from the afflicted rooms as possible. Use white towels on carpets and furniture to prevent bleeding.
--If the ceiling above is bulging with water, do place a bucket underneath the spot and poke a small hole into the ceiling to relieve the pressure and let water through: proceed with care, however.
--Do place sheets of aluminum foil between furniture legs and wet carpet.
--If the weather is nice, open all windows to allow air in and remove as many belongings as possible to dry outside in the sunshine.
--If flood waters include sewage, vacate the house immediately and leave all cleanup duties to the disaster cleanup company.
--Don't attempt to remove standing water using your vacuum cleaner
--Don't turn on electrical appliances in rooms where flooding has occurred
--Don't turn on ceiling fans or lights if the ceiling is wet
--Don't leave colored clothing, magazines, or newspapers on wet hardwood floors or carpeting since discoloration may occur.
--Don't go into any rooms where you feel you may be in danger.
Any level of flooding in a house is serious, since the possibility of mold growth is always present under these conditions. Whether you need Utah disaster cleanup or similar services in Atlanta or Houston, make sure you partner with a disaster response company that can offer you fast professional help when you need it most.
Carolyn Ethington

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