Floods are common natural disasters that can happen almost anywhere. Though some areas in flood plains may be more susceptible to harmful flooding, all homeowners should know what steps they can take to minimize the effects of a looming flood.
How to Prepare for a Flood
Fill water bottles with clean water for drinking, enough to last a few days, and fill bathtubs with water for washing clothes or flushing the toilet. Do not fill your bathtub up with water for drinking or bathing as it is possible that lead from the glaze in your bathtub to seep into the water stored in them.
Bring outdoor furniture inside and turn off any propane tanks to reduce the risk of fire. Fill your car’s gas tank for the possibility of evacuation.
Unplug smaller appliances like microwaves and coffee makers to reduce damage associated with power surges. Elevate utilities like appliances and wiring, along with furniture and other valuables. If your area experiences frequent flooding, consider elevating your entire house.
Waterproof your basement by filling in cracks and holes in concrete walls and apply a coat of waterproof masonry cement to the inside of basement walls. Make sure your sum pump is in working order and consider investing in a battery-operated backup in case of power outages.
Clean out gutters and downspouts making sure they are free of debris.
Cleaning Up After a Flood
Practice extreme caution when re-entering a home after a flood as there may be hidden damage, especially to the building’s foundation. Try to avoid contact with flood water as much as possible as it could contain sewage or dangerous bacteria, among other potentially hazardous things.
Turn off utilities and electricity in your home if it is flooded. If you are not knowledgeable about your electrical systems, contact a qualified electrician to inspect your home and help make your electrical safe. While doing this, keep an eye out for slippery floors and do not, under any circumstance, touch electrical equipment if wet or if you are standing in water.
Inspect your property for damages, making sure to take pictures, for insurance purposes. While inspecting your property, use a battery operated flashlight. Do not use a lantern or match as flammable gases may be present in your home and can cause fires or explosions.
Clean wet items using commercial cleaners and water. If you see mold, clean objects using a mix of bleach and water in an open, well-ventilated area. Fix leaks in roof, walls and plumbing as soon as possible. Any objects that you cannot dry or clean out within 48 hours, throw away.
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