Flooding remains one of the most persistent natural disasters
in the United States and throughout the world, causing billions
of dollars in damage to homes and property each year.
When floodwaters recede, the damage left behind can be
devastating and present many dangers. Visible damage,
however, is only part of the recovery process. What you can’t
see in the aftermath of a flood can be just as dangerous.
Whether a flood is caused by ground water, falling water, or
home water system malfunction, there are some best practices
you’ll need to employ within the first 24 hours after the flood
to ensure the safety of your home and family.
Ensuring Safety Upon Re-Entry
After the flood waters recede, most folks want to get back into
their homes or businesses to begin the cleanup and rebuilding
process. Extreme caution must be taken to avoid further
damage or personal injury. For example:
• You should thoroughly inspect for structural and
electrical damage from the outside to determine if it is
safe to enter. When attempting to re-enter a flooded
structure, always wear sturdy shoes, rubber gloves, and
eye protection. Also, be especially watchful for fire ants,
snakes, or other animals.
• Try to return to your home during daytime hours to avoid
the need for lights. Use battery-powered flashlights and
lanterns rather than candles, gas lanterns, or torches.
• Try to turn off the main power ONLY if the power source
is in a dry location. If there is standing water at or near
the main power switch, call an electrician to turn it off.
NEVER turn power on or off yourself or use an electric
tool or appliance while standing in water.
• Gas leaks are common after a flood. If you smell gas or
suspect a leak, try to safely turn off the main gas valve
and open as many doors and windows as possible. Notify
your local gas company, the police or fire departments or
State Fire Marshal’s office. DO NOT attempt to turn on
lights or do anything that could cause a spark. And don’t
return until you are told it is safe to do so.
• Any home or business that has been flooded and closed
up for several days is going to have mold, which
commonly grows in the stagnant, fetid conditions left in
flooding’s aftermath. Mold is a serious health threat and
should be addressed with the utmost caution. Always use
gloves and breathing filters when inspecting the
Considerations for Restoring or Rebuilding
Flooding can have long-term implications beyond the visible
water damage. Attempting to rebuild too quickly after a flood
can cause continuing problems such as mold growth, insect
infestations, and deterioration of the wood and wall coverings.
Porous building materials (wood, particle board, etc.) that have
been submerged in water for any length of time have likely
absorbed a large amount of water. These must be removed and
replaced with new materials. All fiberglass insulation should
be tossed out, as should plaster, wallpaper, and upholstered
furniture that have been in contact with flood waters.
Yet first and foremost, before considering any repairs or
restoration, you should contact your insurance company as
soon as possible. An adjuster will be sent to assess the damage,
determine the extent of the coverage for any losses, and advise
you on how to proceed with the clean up and restoration
process. It’s also important to fully document the damage for
your insurer by taking photos or video. If you begin removing
water or making repairs before documenting the damage, you
could potentially decrease the extent of your coverage.
Trust the Experts for Post-Flood Recovery
In the aftermath of a flood, your and your family’s health and
safety needs are of utmost importance. Returning to some
degree of normalcy can be an exhausting process, but following
the proper steps can help expedite matters.
As Columbia’s most experienced water damage specialists,
Sincerely Yours will work with your insurance carrier to make
sure that your home or business is safely dried and restored to
pre-loss condition. Locally owned and operated since 1959,
we’re here to serve you 24 hours a day, seven days a week.