Boarded up windows. Sand bags piled up in the doorways. Evacuated homes and businesses. Natural disasters like hurricanes can be devastating, wreaking havoc on your landscaping and yard and damaging your home.
If your home sustains damage from a hurricane, there are a couple things that you should keep in mind concerning your safety:
Is it safe to stay in your home?
Only do activities that are safe for you to perform
If your house experiences flooding after a hurricane, try to remove excess water by mopping and blotting. You can also wipe excess water from wood furniture AFTER removing lamps and tabletop items. Make sure to remove and prop wet upholstery and cushions. You will also want to remove any colored items from wet carpeting. Doing these simple tasks will help to remove some moisture from your home and will help to combat the growth of mold in your living space. All soft goods such as rugs, pillows and cushions affected by flood water should be disposed of. Flood water carries animal and human waste as well as water born parasites. All carpet and padding, as well as any affected porous items (drywall and particle board), should be disposed of 2' above the water line.
But, safety is key. If your home is affected by elevated flood waters from the local rivers after a hurricane, try to limit your contact with it. Flood water has the potential to contain high levels of raw sewage or other hazardous substances. If you do expose yourself to contaminated water, you could experience upset stomach, intestinal problems, headache and other flu-like discomforts.
Do you get your water from a well? If so, and it floods, do not turn on the pump due to the danger of electric shock. You should not drink or wash with water from a flooded well until it is tested and safe to use. The same goes for septic systems, if your home is equipped with that instead of a well.
If your home has sustained heavier damage than what you can handle on your own, you should reach out to a licensed plumber and water restoration company to help clean up your home. If you do contact a plumbing and water restoration company, you should expect:
Inspection and Assessment – The first action point is to do a proper inspection. This allows the company to stop the flood source, check for contaminated water and assess the damage in order to come up with the best plan for water restoration.
Water Removal – During water extraction, the company will remove most of the water. Their pumps and vacuums can quickly whisk away multiple gallons at a time.
Dehumidification and Drying – With the company's dehumidification equipment and industrial-grade machinery, they will make sure your structure is properly dried by monitoring floors and walls.
Sanitization – The company has methods such as dry cleaning, foam cleaning and immersion cleaning for the most complete job. Disinfectant, antibacterial and antimicrobial treatments may also be used.
Restoration – Restoring your home back to its original state may include minor or major repairs. You may have to reinstall drywall, tile a floor or paint some walls.
In a natural disaster event being proactive is key. If you are not able to get your belongings out of your home prior to the storm it is best to move items of importance to higher ground. If you have a second floor, or attic space, move all photographs, important documents and heirlooms to these spaces. If these spaces are not available you can place items on top of countertops, in upper cabinets, or on top of sturdy furniture such as dining tables and dressers.
If there is a chance of flooding in your area DO NOT stay in your home. Safety is the most important thing. When you stay in your home you are not only risking your safety, but also the safety of the emergency service personnel that will have to attempt to rescue you. DO NOT drive during the storm, heavy winds and rain make driving hard and turn common items into projectiles that can go through your car. DO NOT drive through flooded roads or around barricades, you cannot see washed out roads under the water.