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Flood Clean Up Tips

While it is suggested that victims of flood use heat to dry closed building interiors, they should be aware that mildew and expanded moisture damage may result. Unfortunately this really cannot be avoided. Additional damage can be minimized by circulating air. Victims of floods or individuals with water damage should not assume an affected area is dry without the use of moisture meters. Bacterial or microbial growth can start very quickly if the affected area is not completely dried and cleaned.

Multilevel flooded homes can be drained using gravity and drainage pipes after the water line into the house has been shut off.

Turn off ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet, and keep out of rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water. While attempting to clean up water damage do not enter rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water. If necessary punch holes in sagging ceilings to allow water to drain.

Treat all water impacted surfaces and furnishings as toxic, until they are properly decontaminated. Attempt to remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting. Use fans to circulate air. Pull up saturated rugs and carpets. Remove any floor rugs, lift draperies, pin up furniture skirts, in any area that was affected. Air out suitcases and luggage to dry. This is best done by leaving suitcases open in the sun.

Circulate as much air as possible by opening or removing furniture drawers, opening closet doors, this will enhance the drying. Remove and prop up wet upholstery cushions. Do not operate TVs, vacuums or other appliances while standing on wet carpet or floors electrocution or serious injury may result.

If time is an issue freeze valuable books and documents to retard mildew growth until drying can be performed. Damp books should be removed from the shelves and spread out to dry. Wipe water from wood furniture after removing of lamps and tabletop items.

Computer equipment should be removed to a dry environment, computer cases should be removed and computers dried out using pressurized air. Circuit breakers that have been submerged should be replaced. Any circuit breaker removed after being submerged must be destroyed because it may not operate safely.

The main electrical panel in homes should be cleaned, dried, and tested to ensure the integrity of the insulation. Do not use any appliance, heating, pressure, or sewage system that has been subjected to flood water until the electrical components of the appliance or system have been thoroughly cleaned, dried, and inspected by a qualified electrician.

Replace heating equipment that have been submerged such as electrical furnaces and hot water tanks. All receptacles and switches that have been submerged in flood water should be replaced.

Of course an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Not all flooding is the result of natural disasters some home flooding occurs as the result of faulty plumbing. Frequently check under sinks for moisture or small leaks. Leaks under sinks should be repaired quickly to avoid additional damage to cabinets or floors. Make sure overflow holes on tubs and vanities are clear and open to prevent water damage.

During the clean up if all else fails contact a Certified Water Damage Firm, there are a number of firms that specialize in water damage reparation.

Keep in mind that water damage occurs rapidly and sometimes the difference between restoration and replacement can be the quick action of a professional. There are also specialists who specifically focus on restoration and will know how to properly dry, clean and care for precious items like oil paintings. Do not throw away desirable items, before determining whether a specialist can complete restoration.

About the Author
Francesca Black has worked in the emergency services field for more than 10 years. More information available at Prepare for Emergency

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