6 First Steps Before & During Flood Cleanup
Safety comes first when flood cleanup begins. By taking the right steps in the best order, you stay safe and save as much as possible. Getting infections from bacteria and mold is a real danger. Rebuilding too quickly compounds problems. Still, speed is still an issue. Do what you need to do and be safe. Contact the right people as quickly as possible. It helps you get back on your feet sooner while minimizing the damage.
6 First Steps Before Flood Cleanup Begins
- Contact Insurance company
- Contact Flood and Water Restoration Companies
- Confirm that gas, water, electric and other utilities are off.
- Keep damaged materials for proof of loss
- Give professionals your contact information.
- Contact Government offices for disaster relief in your area. When the President declares the flood a national disaster, the US government can help. Contact FEMA.gov, get help at http://www.disasterassistance.gov/ or call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).
The sooner you contact these groups, the more you will be able to salvage.
Water Cleanup Begins with Safety
Make sure the water, gas, electric and other utilities are off. Get the all-clear before turning on services. Don’t enter a structure until you’re given the all clear that it is safe. When you enter the building, wear sturdy shoes, rubber gloves, and eye protection. Consider a respirator. Do not use an open flame for anything. Dangerous flammable gases may be present. User battery-operated flashlights.
Flood water is full of bacteria which causes harmful infections. Wash your hands and skin often. Use lots of soap. Keep yourself as covered as possible. Everything needs to be sanitized, but remember don’t mix chlorine bleach with ammonia.
Flood water brought in more than dirt and bacteria. Be on the lookout for snakes, fire ants, spiders and other animals that have moved with the water.
Get Utilities Checked
Bring in an electrician to check the property. Have them help get your system safely turned back on. Have a structural engineer confirm the structure is safe. Don’t use water until it has been deemed safe before for drinking and bathing.
Take Care of Yourself
Flood water is full of harmful bacteria. Bacteria becomes airborne and attaches itself to everything. Unfortunately, part of water cleanup is getting rid of what is harmful. Throw out all food even if it was above the water. Get rid of toiletries – makeup, toothpaste, personal hygiene products. Don’t drink the water until the water department has deemed it safe. Disinfect all cooking and eating utensils. Throw out plastic storage containers. Most importantly get some sleep and eat proper meals.
Furniture & Water Damage Cleanup
Remove water damaged carpeting, pads with 48 hours after flood waters subside. Discard all upholstery and mattresses with water damage. Remember everything has to be sanitized. Items that having padding inside will be nearly impossible to clean.
Saved solid wood, metal, and plastic furniture will have to be cleaned and restored. Move furniture outside to dry, clean and sanitized. Dry away from direct sunlight as the sun can warp furniture. Remove all parts such as drawers, doors, allowing air circulation for more even drying. Work with your water restoration company. They will know the fastest and safest way to start.
Flood Cleanup – Get Air Circulating
Dry everything before making repairs. Remove water as quickly as is safe. Removing water too quickly damages structures and could result in a total loss. Airing out the house helps remove harmful gases and bacteria. On dry days, open up windows, use dehumidifiers and fans. Open up closets, doors, drawers, and cupboards. Getting fresh air circulating is important.
Help reduce mold, odor and structuring decay by opening flooded walls. Remove baseboards. Help drain and dry walls by removing baseboards and cutting holes at the base of wallboard. Discard flooded drywall. Save un-damaged paneling by propping it up where it can air dry, cleaned and sanitized. Remove and discard insulation.
Remove floor covers to allow subfloors to dry. Clean and sanitize subfloors thoroughly.
On your own, flood damage restoration, cleanup, sanitizing and salvage may take months. A professional water cleanup company will speed the process up and help you save as much as possible. Puroclean is here to help 24/7. Get a free emergency review by calling 405-731-4343 or contacting us online. Get the process moving as quickly possible.
Extra Flood Cleanup Tip
Put wet paper and books in plastic bags and freeze in frost-free freezers. This gives you time by slowing down decay and damage. When you are ready, retrieve the paper. Air or fan dry.
Flood Clean Up – Helpful Links & Downloads
- NEMO.org’s “Evaluating Water-Damaged Electrical Equipment
- Rebuild Healthy Homes – Guide to Post-disaster Restoration for a Safe and Healthy (pdf)
- Guide to Post-disaster Restoration for a Safe and Healthy Home (pdf)
- Red Cross Flood Safety List (pdf)
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