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Water Damage Emergency Tips
You probably know what to do in the event of a tornado, a fire, or even a burglary, but how prepared are you when it comes to water damage emergencies? Water damage can create a wealth of problems to the structure of your home, and jeopardize the safety of your family. Severe water damage disasters may even require that your family vacate until your property has been inspected. Depending on the situation, there may be a few things you can do before your emergency assistance arrives.
Burst Pipes, Flooding, and Severe Leaks
The first thing you should do is turn the water off if you have access to the valve. Remove any valuables in the affected area that you can save, in the event that the water level rises. Turn on the taps to safely drain the water left in the pipes after the water connection has been shut off. If you have central heating, make sure it’s turned off. Open windows and doors in the area, and remove anything left in flooded cabinets, leaving the cabinet doors open. Do not touch anything with electrical wiring.
If flooding is involved, this makes the situation a little more complicated. You may attempt to siphon out some of the flood water if it’s safe to do so. If the flood occurred upstairs and is leaking downstairs, you can place buckets to collect the water before it damages the flooring or walls of the second floor. If the water involved contains sewage, the situation changes.
If the flooding is in your basement, do not enter it. Wait for a professional to come.
It’s dangerous to handle sewage without the proper equipment. Since waste byproducts contain active diseases, such as hepatitis A, tetanus, e. coli and giardia, coming into contact with them can create serious consequences for your health. Sewage water and materials that have been affected by sewage need to be handled with the proper safety equipment. Latex gloves and rain boots aren’t even the tip of the iceberg. Sewage cleanup requires a decontamination suit for proper safety.
Certain individuals may be more susceptible to contracting diseases from sewage. This is particularly true of children, the elderly, people with open wounds or sores, and those with compromised immune systems. Get them out of the house immediately and do not allow them to come into contact with sewage backup.
Generic household cleaners aren’t enough to sanitize surfaces that have come into contact with sewage. While chemicals such as bleach or surface anti-septic are better than nothing, they won’t be enough to get the job done. Professionals have industrial grade sanitizing solutions that will work on your walls and floors.
Water Damage Around Electricity
If water is near wall outlets, inside of walls or ceilings with electrical fixtures, or is touching electrical appliances, the power needs to be disconnected immediately. Do not walk through the area, and do not attempt to use the fuse box. Call the utility company and have them disconnect your gas or electricity. Don’t light matches or ignite any flames within the house if you have gas connections.
If your utility company gives you any instructions over the phone, follow them. Stand outside until someone has come to expect your residence and declares it safe. Electricity involved with water damage can cause fires or electrocution.
Sometimes, problems go unnoticed until they’ve reached their final extreme. You may notice signs of mold in an area where water damage has occurred. Mold puts your family at risk for severe respiratory illness. If it’s been released or has overtaken a significant portion of your home, you may want to stay elsewhere until the mold has been removed. Since mold can reproduce in a single day, it needs to be removed immediately to prevent the problem from spreading.
Salvaging Your Belongings
Personal property affected by water damage can sometimes be salvaged. If the flood involves clean water, you may be able to salvage most things. Rugs, bedding, and clothing should be immediately hung to dry in the sun. Allowing them to stay wet can permanently destroy them. Most paper goods exposed to clean water can be dried in the sun if they haven’t been completely immersed, but they may deform. Saturated paper goods will have to be disposed of.
Goods that have been exposed to sewage may not be salvageable, particularly if they are made of porous materials. Hard materials, such as wooden furniture or metal objects are relatively easy to properly sanitize. Paper goods, clothing, and rugs are a slippery slope. Paper is not salvageable, but some fabric goods may be.
Carpet and padding cannot be saved. They need to be immediately removed and disposed of so the sub-flooring can be completely disinfected. Upholstery and soft furniture that have come into contact with sewage must also be disposed of. Things like rugs or clothing may be saved, but only if they can be treated with extremely hot water to kill the bacteria. Chlorine bleach is rendered ineffective by sewage, so it’s not an alternative to extended boiling.
If you aren’t sure of what to do, don’t attempt to do anything. Call for a professional immediately. The fastest way to get a water damage restoration specialist immediately dispatched to your house is by using a company like Restoration Local. Restoration Local connects homeowners experiencing a disaster with trustworthy specialty contractors who can fix the damage immediately. Water damage emergencies occur at all hours of the day, so our phone lines are always open.
After a disaster has occurred, every second counts. Don’t hesitate to call If you have water damage, call Restoration Local 24/7 at 1-888-443-3110. All estimates are free, and all contractors are certified. At Restoration Local, we understand how distressing it can be for homeowners who find their houses in shambles. It’s a stressful and chaotic time, and you want to protect the safety and integrity of your home. Let us help you find the water damage restoration specialist who will put you on the fast track to getting your normal life back.