Cleaning Up After a Flood
Safety & Timing are of the Essence!
Flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States and can happen anywhere.
Flooding can occur slowly over many days leaving enough time to evacuate in advance or prepare to be home for several days without power, water, or access to roads or services. Or, as in the case of flash flooding, it can happen very quickly with little or no warning and you may need to move quickly to make it to higher ground.
Reducing the Risk of Damage
In the event of a flood, America's PrepareAthon! guide, How to Prepare for a Flood (PDF), offers the following tips to reduce the risk of damage to your home or business:
- Elevate critical utilities, such as electrical panels, switches, sockets, wiring, appliances, and heating systems;
- In areas with repetitive flooding, consider elevating the building;
- Waterproof basement areas and make sure your sump pump is working; and
- Move furniture, valuables, and important documents to a safe place.
After a flood, timing is of the essence. Water left in your home for a significant period of time can cause mold, and even in some cases, structural damage. It is important to clean your home as soon as possible following a flood.
Protecting Yourself After a Flood
Keep in mind that extreme care is necessary when cleaning out your home following a flood. America's PrepareAthon!'s guide, How to Prepare for a Flood (PDF), also provides recommendations on how to best protect yourself and your property after a flood:
- Avoid wading in floodwaters as they often contain dangerous debris like broken glass, metal, dead animals, or contaminants, such as sewage, gasoline, and oil;
- Do not enter a damaged building unless it has been cleared by authorities. There may be structural damage to the foundation, electrical hazards, or hidden damage;
- Take precautions and wear appropriate protective equipment, such as gloves, safety glasses, rubber boots, and masks that protect you from dust and other dangerous particles;
- Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or you're standing in water;
- Shut off all utilities to a flooded home or building;
- Clean and disinfect anything that got wet; and
- Remove and replace any drywall or other paneling that was underwater.
The How to Prepare for a Flood (PDF) guide offers many more recommendations, such as when it's appropriate to return home after flooding.