If your basement floods there are some very important things you should do and more importantly some things you should avoid doing for not only your safety but also your families health and safety. If your basement has just flooded and you are not sure if it is safe to enter then do not enter it until told the area is safe by a professional plumber or certified water damage restoration expert. Entering a flooded basement can expose you to the following hazards:
Electrical Shock: – Water and electricity do not mix, ever. Flooded basements pose a very real risk for electrocution. If your homes power supply is NOT in the basement and your basement floods and if it is safe to do so, by all means turn of your homes power supply.
Gas leaks – This is not to common during basement floods, but we have seen it happen in the homes that we serviced and for a verity of reasons. If you smell gas leave your house right away and call your gas company and a licensed plumber or water damage restoration expert right away.
Pollutants – Flood water can contain all manner of pollutants from chemicals to harmful sewage, viruses, bacteria and other diseases. You should wear water proof boots and use gloves when handling anything in a flooded basement. Safety goggles and a light face mask are recommended as well. You should wash thoroughly after any contact with flood water and have the effected area sanitized thoroughly following any basement flood.
If your basement floods by all means call a plumber right away. Now is not the time to try and save a few bucks by attempting to clean it up yourself and trying to stop any further water from entering. That being said there is a few things you can do before the plumber arrives that could help minimize any further damage.
Floods caused by burst or faulty pipes: For floods caused by these circumstances, if it is safe for you to do so, you should shut of the homes water supply. Your home is equipped with a water shut off valve which will allow you to shut off your homes entire water supply.
Floods due to sewage backup: Avoid flushing toilets or running tap water. Also avoid using your homes dishwasher or washing machine. Using anything that causes water to go down a drain will very likely make any flooding worse.
You should also call your insurance company. They will provide you with information on clean-up, contractors that should be called, and any claim procedures. Your flood might be entirely covered by your insurance policy so it is vital that you contact them. Our company is on a first name basis with any insurance adjustors and we have excellent relations with most insurance agencies serving the area.
You should document any and all damage thoroughly. Take lots of photos of all damaged areas and especially damaged personal possessions. if you are covered by insurance do not go out buying new things until you are fully versed with your insurance policies coverage requirements. Keep every receipt related to the damage and clean up of the flood including any emergency work done and or repairs.
If you do have insurance for flooding or water damage you should do everything in your power to prevent flooding from occurring in the first place. In the unfortunate event of flooding occurring your insurance company will look for favorably on you for doing so and the claims process will be much easier on you if you can show that you have performed the proper maintenance on your homes plumbing systems. Failure to maintain your homes plumbing system along with repeated claims for flood damage is likely to cause you being dropped from future coverage.