Handling Flood Damage: Safety 1st

With the unprecedented rain and flooding in the area this year, many are dealing with water damage at home and in their businesses. If you discover water damage in your home or facility, the first thing to do is identify the cause of the damage. Water damage can come from excessive humidity, corroded or leaking pipes, malfunctioning appliances, and roof issues. Once you’ve determined where it’s coming from, you can minimize the damage as much as possible. When checking for damage, it’s important that you do it safely. Inspect the damage from the outside to determine whether it’s safe to enter. Shut off all utilities if necessary, and be sure to avoid any electrical hazards- this is especially important if the water is still present. Additionally, check for gas leaks and potential fire hazards.

How to Identify

After the water has receded or been removed, look for water spots and brown or yellow stains. Check for changes in floor, ceiling, and wall textures. If there is warping, buckling, or expansion, then it’s a clear sign that there’s damage underneath. Most areas have a unique detectable odor and visual discoloration from black mold development.

Contact a Professional

Act quickly; water damage severity will increase the longer the building stays wet, which can extend the level of mold damage. Because flooded waters are often unclean, porous building materials must often be removed and replaced. If there is standing water, then it must be removed by extraction. DIY water and mold extraction are often not recommended due to the posed dangers of saturated drywall, ceilings, and other building materials that can collapse from water weight. It’s best to call a professional who follows industry standard procedures. In the meantime, wipe down wet surfaces and remove wet items. Remove all furniture and personal items if possible, and store in a safe area. Wash and disinfect all designated safe areas that have been flooded. Throw out any perishables and other disposable items. If you have flood insurance, be sure to contact your insurance agency immediately.

Precaution Tips

The best precaution is prevention. Make sure your sewage and permanent appliances are routinely checked. Keep gutters and outside drains cleared of debris and maintained on a regular basis. Proper placement of vegetation, rocks and gutter extensions can make the difference between minor and major water damage. Know your property’s flood zone risk by asking your local municipality for a flood map of your community in order to make a proper evaluation of how much water is likely to come in so you can plan accordingly. For more tips and information, watch this video on how to restore and handle your water damage situation.