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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Steps to take when returning to your home after a flood

3/12/2020 (Permalink)

storm flooding Be careful when returning to a home that has been flooded

Floods can be extremely devastating, both to your property and mental well-being.  It can be tempting to immediately rush back into your home after the water finally recedes, but there are a number of factors that need to be considered first. After your home has been impacted by flood water, there can be any variety of potential hazards that need to be considered prior to you coming back into the house

Gas Leaks

When first entering your home, be sure to open the doors and windows to ventilate the structure and help remove foul odors or leaking gas. Do not turn on any of the house’s lighting; instead, use a flashlight as you’re moving throughout the structure. Open flames, electrical sparks and cigarettes can cause an explosive fire if there is a gas leak. Should you discover a leak, immediately exit your home and contact your service company for assistance.

After a severe flood, there will likely be damage to a house’s electrical system. Avoid turning on lights or operating electrical appliances. Ensure the electricity is turned off at the main panel before checking an individual circuits or equipment. If your basement is flooded, the utility company will need to disconnect the power from your house. 

Watch for falling debris and check for possible damage to floors and walls. Knock down any hanging plaster or drywall. If you are not sure of the dangers the structural damage presents, call the city building inspector or engineer.

There is a danger of foundation walls collapsing, especially if you have a basement that has been flooded. Keep an eye on the foundation walls as the water is removed as this will cause a change in pressure that could cause the walls to cave in. To prevent radical changes in pressure, pump about a third of the water out each day. The water pressure needs a chance to equalize.

Supplies from any source suspected of being affected by flood conditions may be treated by one of the following methods:

  • Mix teaspoonful of commercial laundry bleach with 2 gallons of water. Let stand five minutes before drinking.
  • Bring water to a boil for ten minutes in a clean container. Eliminate the flat taste by shaking the water in a bottle, by pouring from one container to another, or by adding a pinch of salt. If the water is from a public supply, local authorities will tell you if boiling is necessary.
  • Add five drops of tincture of iodine solution to one quart of water. Mix thoroughly and allow to stand for 30 minutes before drinking.
  • Use water purifying tablets, available in drug stores or camping equipment outlets.

Do not use fresh food that has come into contact with flood waters; it will likely be contaminated with any number of infectious agents.

Although we can't prevent floods from happening, SERVPRO of Santa Barbara and Goleta/Santa Ynezcan certainly help with the cleanup and restoration after the waters have receded.

When in need, contact SERVPRO of Santa Barbara and Goleta/Santa Ynez at (805) 963-0606; we're always here to help!

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