Moving Back In After a Flood
When returning to a flood-damaged home, there are some important things to remember. While the flooding itself may have stopped, there are wide varieties of dangers that still exist—dangers that can cause either injury or death. Under no circumstances should children or pets be included in your first return to a flood-damaged property.
Most important on our list of things about which to be mindful when returning to a flood-damaged home is not to enter a flooded, wet, or even damp building if the electricity is on. Have the power turned off at the main breaker/fuse box and leave the power off until you have been given an OK from a licensed professional.
Damaged Foundations from a Flood
Make sure that you do not enter a home where the foundation or framing has been damaged. Things might look stable, regardless of the signs of damage, but the structure could crumble with even the smallest of adjustments in weight and support needs. Your very movement through the structure could trigger a collapse. In addition to visual damage, if there are any noises that could indicate trouble, please be sure to contact a professional building inspector or licensed restoration company (Duckstein Restoration is a great choice) before attempting to get into the home.
Dangerous Chemicals Leak after a Flood
It can be both what you know and don’t know about spilled and hazardous materials that can be very dangerous. At times, your flood can spread materials like pesticides, chemicals, gasoline, heating fuel, and more throughout your home. Additionally, there could be chemicals spread throughout your home due to materials picked up and brought into your home from other sources (i.e., a snow-melt flood could carry pesticides into your property from the farm up the street). Furthermore, many homes in our area have asbestos and lead-based paint. Cleaning up after these items are exposed is hazardous.
After these big three dangers, there are still many more flood-related hazards that can be just as deadly. Falling items in a damaged home can obviously cause a lot of trouble, but even a small cut on broken glass can lead to all kinds of infections. The chances of this are greater than usual due to another hazard following a flood—biological materials and black water. Molds, mildew, sewage, and a wide collection of other biological dangers exist after flooding.
Asthma after a Home Flood
If you have a compromised immune system or breathing difficulties (including asthma), you probably don’t want to be on the front lines of returning to a flood-damaged home. Be careful when entering a flood-damaged home for the first time, or (better yet) hire a professional to take these first steps and ensure that it is safe for you to enter. No matter what—remember to be careful, slow, and observant of the potential dangers!
Henry Duckstein Jr.