Floodwater in your home is not something to take lightly. Aside from destroying your home’s structural integrity, it can cause your family to get sick or suffer from injuries. Knowing the steps you can take when faced with a flood will help you act quickly if it ever happens in your home.
1. Stop the flow of water and electricity
The first thing you must do is to stop the water levels from rising indoors. If the source of flooding is identifiable and within the home, shut off the water source immediately. For floods caused by a sewage backup from city plumbing, avoid contact with the water if at all possible. If you are standing on a wet floor, avoid electrical fixtures like sockets, plugs, and switches.
Once you have shut down the water, you also need to shut down the power. You must turn off the power supply right at the circuit breaker, and not just turn off individual switches or unplug items. Water charged with electricity can cause electrocution, putting the members of your household in danger of burns—or even death.
Some causes of floods are simple, like broken pipes or busted tanks. However, these would still require serious repairs. In any case, contacting repairmen and other professionals is the best way to prevent this from happening again. Just remember to clear the floodwater first—you can deal with the flood repairs and refittings afterward.
2. Mop up clean floodwater as quickly as possible
Category 1, considered “clean water,” is from sink or tub overflows, burst pipes and toilet bowl tanks. This does not have significant amounts of contaminants, and it is the easiest type of flood to manage. Your only goal here is to clean the home quickly. Use a mop and rags to remove the water from non-porous spaces.
After cleaning up the worst of the flooding, follow it up with a clean rag to get the area to dry quicker. For porous material like wood, drywall, paint, and insulation, you need to put more effort into drying. These materials, when left with excess moisture, are prone to mold, warping, and discoloration. Use fans or a dehumidifier to speed up the drying process.
3. Clean grey floodwater carefully to avoid contamination
“Grey water,” or Category 2 floodwater contains chemical, physical, or biological contaminants. If you are exposed to or accidentally consume grey water, it can cause you to get sick. An example of category 2 flooding in a home would be water from a toilet with urine or cleaning fluids but without solid wastes.
Flood cleanup for category 2 water requires you to take some precautions. When mopping the flood, use latex gloves, rubber footwear, and protective goggles. If bathroom cleaning supplies get into your eyes, it can cause a chemical burn. Do not splash the water around—work quickly, but not to the point that you’re undoing your own progress. Refrain from using the fixtures where the flooding came from until you can get a plumber repair your flood.
When you have dried the worst of the flooding, use a household disinfectant to clean the areas affected by the greywater. Once you are finished, you must also clean and sanitize the items you used for cleaning. For grey water that has seeped into porous surfaces, call a flood remediation specialist. They know how to properly deal with this kind of water damage.
4. Let professionals handle black floodwater
Category 3 floodwater, also known as “black water,” is the most dangerous of the three. It is extremely unsanitary and contains large amounts of waste. This type of flooding definitely carries fungi, bacteria, and other pathogens. Examples of black water are backups from city plumbing, from under the toilet trap, and stagnant grey water.
This type of flood can cause people to fall seriously ill, so if your house has this kind of water, you must call a professional removal company. They will have the equipment and cleaning products necessary to extract water and sanitize a home that has fallen victim to this type of flooding.
Quickly assessing a flooding situation will help reduce your exposure to contaminants or your likelihood of getting electrocuted. It will also prevent your home from becoming further damaged by floodwater. Always put your family’s safety first in all attempts to repair your home.