Floods are frightening and can make you feel powerless, but the restoration procedure can help you regain control of your life and property. But whether the flood damage is minor or widespread enough to call in a professional restoration team, it's important to understand the safety hazards you can encounter in your own house after a flood. Here are practical tips on how to avoid three common hazards in homes with water damage. 

1. Electricity

Safe electric practices include turning off the electricity to the whole house (from the main circuit breaker) before evacuating. Always ensure that both you and the ground you're standing on are reasonably dry before doing so. Double-check when you return; don't enter the damaged house until you've ensured that no electricity is running to it. Additional safety measures include:

  • Stay away from standing water in a flood situation. Even if you don't see them, damaged power lines may be nearby and can electrify the water. 
  • Have an electrician inspect your home before turning the electricity back on. Use alternate light sources (such as daylight and battery-powered flashlights) until then.
  • Be extra careful around water-damaged electronics. Take all affected electronics in for professional cleaning and/or repairs before using them. 

2. Structural Damage

Inspect your home before entering it. Try to determine how much of it has been affected by the flood. Look for bits of vegetation and other debris caught in low-hanging tree branches or bushes to determine how high the flood water rose. Next, examine your house from all sides in order to find any visible structural damage. Look for these signs:

  • Leaning, cracked, or buckling walls
  • Foundation damage such as erosion and new or worsened cracks
  • Cracks around (especially above) doors and windows

Once you've entered the house, continue to keep an eye out for structural damage and be ready to leave if necessary. Telltale signs of an unstable structure from the inside include:

  • Floors that feel soft or spongy
  • Sagging ceilings
  • Buckling walls

3. Mold 

If you discover mold growing in your house as a result of water damage, you should probably call in the professionals. Depending on the type, mold can pose a serious health threat and is difficult to completely eradicate. Because of this, the safest procedures in the presence of mold include discarding affected materials that are porous (such as clothing and other textiles) and hiring professional cleaning services to remove remaining mold from your house and finish the restoration process. Fortunately, if you don't have mold yet, it can often be prevented by quick action. Try the following techniques:

  • After the flood, return to your home as soon as it is safe to do so.
  • Open windows and doors to encourage airflow, helping surfaces dry faster and reducing their suitability as a mold habitat.
  • Quickly and thoroughly clean and dry all water-damaged materials.
  • If flood damage is only mild and the situation is safe, have friends help.

If the damage is extensive, the task of preventing mold becomes overwhelming, which is why it's safest to hire professionals from a company like Servpro Of Framingham for anything more severe than mild flood damage.

Whether your home was barely in the flood zone or whether it requires a complete renovation by a professional restoration team, use these safety tips to prevent injury or illness. Always remember to be on the alert when entering a damaged home. If you see anything suspicious, call your contractors for professional advice. They'll be happy to answer any questions about damage remediation, and they want to help you stay safe!