Safety measures to keep in mind

Bonbons kitchen and living room

Safely re-enter a flooded home. (Photo Credits)

A family whose home has been flooded may already be wanting to go home after spending days or even weeks in an evacuation center. But the return home can be a challenge, and may not be as pleasant given the flooding situation that took place.

It is critical that every homeowner strive to follow safety guidelines in reentering his or her flooded home for the first time so that everyone can stay safe, and that damage will not be further incurred on the home fixtures,

The Extension Disaster Education Website shared guidelines on how to deal with the situation of returning home to a flooded house. They also discussed in their write-up red flags that may mean that the flooding may have damaged the structural integrity of the home. Check over here 

“When first returning to a flooded home, you may face many threats to life and health. The first and most obvious issue: is the building structurally sound? Only a structural engineer or other building official can answer this with any certainty, but some warning signs include: (1) Is the building shifted off its foundation? (2) Is the foundation itself damaged? (3) Is the building racking – no longer square, but leaning to one side? (4) Is the building partly destroyed – missing a wall, for example, or partially crushed? (5) Is the roofline out of position? If any of these are true, then the building may collapse at any time.”

Take a look at the rest of their advice here.

Safety First

The Federal Emergency Management Agency made it clear in its published fact sheet that homeowners should always prioritize their safety over anything else when attempting to reenter a flooded home. They underscored that valuables may be salvaged, but never at the expense of personal safety.

“Personal safety is always the highest priority when enTering buildings damaged by floodwater. Check for structural damage before re-entering your home to avoid being trapped in a building collapse. Keep power off until an electrician has inspected your system for safety. Turn off the gas. Be alert for gas leaks. Look before you step. After a flood, the ground and floors are covered with debris, including broken bottles and nails. Floors and stairs that have been covered with mud can be very slippery.”

The whole fact sheet can be downloaded here.

Insurance, Insurance, Insurance

House Logic meanwhile reminded homeowners returning to their homes to not do any remediation or restoration work yet until they have documented the whole scene already through photographs. According to the home improvement website, such is important for filing insurance claims.

“Before you remove any water or make any repairs, fully document the damage for your insurer by taking photos or video. Digital versions are best, says Ramirez, because they can be stored electronically and easily copied. If you start removing water or making repairs before you photograph the damage, you could potentially decrease the extent of your coverage, he says.”

The rest of House Logic’s tips can be found in their original post here.

Safety begins with information. Get to know how to safely re-enter a flooded home by being aware of guidelines set forth by authorities.