What to do in the Moments After a Water Disaster

Feb 17 2017

Of the most common home disasters, there are two that require immediate attention: fires and floods. While you can’t do anything if you’re not home when these disasters occur, but if you are home, you must act quick. Here’s what you should do if you find a water disaster has happened in your home.

When Water Disaster Strikes, Take Action

While in the midst of a water emergency, damage waits for no one. Best case scenario: you have the contact info for a local restoration company readily available in an emergency-type drawer or on the fridge you can call right away. If you don’t, do a google search and read a few reviews before calling. Once you’ve called, a restoration team should be on their way to help you with the damage within 60 minutes. But what do you do with that 60 minutes while you’re waiting for them to come?

Stay Safe

Many home water emergencies are a result of internal plumbing problems. A burst pipe or malfunctioning sewage system can cause basement flooding that can happen in an instant or slowly over time. Standing basement water is likely to be contaminated with sewage and chemicals harmful to your health. Before entering the water, we suggest you wear:

  • A Mask
  • Waders
  • Hip or Waist-High Waterproof Boots
  • Rubber Gloves

You can never be too careful. Open all available windows for adequate airflow into the basement or other flooded areas.

Take Pictures and Call Your Insurance Company

Taking pictures of every area of your home and most possessions, especially ones of great value, is a good standard practice. Before you begin to remove items from flood water, take pictures of all affected areas for insurance purposes. Ideally, you’d have a photo set of all your items before a disaster to compare with damaged items. Even so, take pictures of the damaged area and then call your insurance company.

Learn more about the insurance process after a water disaster.

Start Removing Water

Obviously, you need to remove the water, but depending on the source of the water, you should only start removing it if it’s safe. Once your insurer gives you the go ahead to remove water, it’s time to get moving; anything you can do between that moment and when a restoration or disaster cleanup service arrives can be a time and money-saver.

Suggested Ways to Remove Water

  • A sump pump
  • A wet vac
  • Buckets

If you don’t have access to a sump pump or wet vac, remove as much water as you can with buckets and other containers. Unless you live close to a hardware store or have a neighbor that can lend you these items, you’ll spend more time trying to acquire them and less time removing water.

Note: Water is heavy: a cubic foot of water weighs 10 pounds. Wear gloves and be careful when transporting buckets.

Mitigating Mold

Mold damage should not be an issue with damage restoration services and mitigation services on the way. But, if you can’t get someone out to your house soon, serious mold damage can begin with 24 hours. First, determine what can be saved (ex., a floor rug can be professionally cleaned and dried for 100-500 dollars more, but wood furniture might be too saturated with water to dry effectively).

Mold growth can be controlled on surfaces by cleaning with a non-ammonia detergent or pine oil cleaner and disinfecting with a 10% bleach solution. Note: never mix ammonia with bleach, as the resulting fumes are toxic.

How We Can Help

If you ever find yourself faced with a water emergency, don’t hesitate to contact us. Call us and we’ll help you with your water damage situation as fast as possible. Our experienced emergency response team will mitigate your water disaster and get your home back to pre-damaged condition as soon as possible.

If you need help remembering what to do in the case of a water emergency, here is something you can print out to put on your fridge or in an emergency drawer. If you want to learn more about what to do in the case of emergencies, you can check out our complete guide!

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