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Every year a surprising number of homes in The North East of America and Canada are flooded during storms. While this is happening, there’s often little we can do about it, because the force of water can be unstoppable. As it recedes, it’s time to take quick action, as it may still be possible to recover the situation, at least in part.
Here in Toronto, we were lucky to miss the bulk of Hurricane Sandy, which ripped through much of the East coast. While damage was minimal, there were still thousands of homes that experienced damaging floods that turned their basements into mini swimming pools. Next time you experience a flood in your basement, be sure to take the following precautions before proceeding.
- Make sure the electricity is turned off – This is your number one priority, because every year there are reports of people being electrocuted in their flooded homes. The electrical panel to the home is almost always located in the basement and if water reaches it, it can have devastating effects to anyone that is wading through the water. Make sure power to the entire house is shut off. Have an electrician confirm this, don’t take a risk. Water can conduct electricity through your body with deadly results!
- Check for gas leaks – Turn off the supply if you smell the slightest whiff of gas. Carbon dioxide is rightly called the silent killer, because you can’t smell it. Make sure your home is well-ventilated before you turn on any gas appliance (or even light a candle or a cigarette).
- Inspect your sewerage system – If there’s water bubbling up, then you can be sure there’s a stoppage somewhere. Be sensible about this. Find alternatives without adding to the problem. And don’t take a chance with drinking tap water until you get the okay from the authorities (after which you should let it run for a while first).
- Only eat food you can trust – If your freezer has been out of action beyond the recommended period, don’t touch the food stored in it. After you open the freezer door for the first time, cook anything that’s safe immediately.
- Get help – If you’re trapped by surrounding water, try to contact the authorities for help. As soon as you can, inform your insurance company and ask for guidance. It’s also a good idea to have your home inspected for unseen damage. Book soon for this, as the queue is bound to be long. Make sure the examination includes the foundation, structure, roof, and all reticulation systems too.
- The big clean-up – Be sure to wear stout waterproof boots, strong rubber gloves and face protection, because you never know what’s washed into your home along with the water. Be especially mindful of rodents, snakes and stray animals, and stay away from bee and wasp nests.
When things return to normal as your home dries out and your insurance company completes repairs, you may be left with one nagging problem that’s sometimes extremely different to resolve. This is the mould that could be growing silently in damp spaces beneath the floors and attic, from where it can spread almost anywhere.
At best, mould is an irritation that ruins fabrics and stains art works permanently. At worst, it can trigger chest infections, and cause asthma attacks and coughing seizures. If you end up with severe mould infestation in your home there’s little chance of eliminating it yourself – especially when you have extreme water damage as in the case of a flood. Save yourself a deal of time and trouble by calling in a mould expert instead. Mould removal companies have special structural drying equipment and detectors that can effectively remove the moisture, and mould from your home.
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