Firstly, we assume that you’re not in any danger and that the flooding has stopped. If not, seek higher ground immediately. Do not return home unless authorities have advised that it is safe to do so.
You’re standing in water, the carpet is soaked. There’s water on, under and over everything, and you have no idea of what to do next. Don’t despair, these 7 tips will help you recover from a flood and mitigate the damage to your home and belongings and help you achieve the best flood restoration possible.
1. Don’t turn on your electronics until they have thoroughly dried.
When you look around at all your electronics and see them submerged in water, your first thought is probably that you’ll need to buy everything again. This might be the case for some sensitive electronics, like cellphones or laptops, but there’s still a chance of recovery. You can increase the chances of recovering your electronics by waiting for them to be completely dry before turning them on.
Trying to turn electronics on while wet is a sure way to render them useless, and could even be dangerous. Place laptops, cellphones and other electronics hotwater cupboards and leave them overnight to dry. Try some of these other tips for drying out electronics which may help.
2. Avoid contact with flood water
Flood water often carries disease and other hazards from sewage systems. This might seem obvious, but do not drink drink any flood water, and try and avoid contact with flood water altogether. This is especially important if you have pets or young children, as you’ll want to keep them away from the flooded areas as well. If you have to work in the flood water, suit up, and use gloves and other protective gear.
Once the flood damage cleanup is done and you’re starting to readjust, you’ll need to make sure your water is clean and free from disease, bacteria, or even small debris. Before drinking tap water, make sure it’s tested by authorities to make sure it’s safe to consume. You can do this by using some of these tips. You might also want to visit the NZ Health website for further advice.
3. Store all valuables in sealed containers or a freezer
Those plastic bags you keep in the kitchen cupboard? Believe it or not, those are perfect for your important documents, certificates, licenses, and anything else that will fit. There are other options out there for keeping important documents sealed, like a waterproof safe for example, but if you are looking to save some money, try the sealed plastic bags first.
If you want to take it a step further, you could even store the documents in your freezer. Freezers are sealed, which means they can protect valuable documents until it’s safe to take them out. These preemptive measures will be extremely important if an emergency happens.
4. Carpets & furniture
If you’ve ever spilled a significant amount of liquid on your carpet, you know how long it can take to dry. If your carpet has been flooded, it will take even longer. Carpets should be dried within a period of two days, but only with some help of fans set up throughout the home and good airflow. This is also considering that the floodwater was nontoxic and was tested to ensure the carpets will be safe once dry.
Any carpets soaked with sewerage, on the other hand, should be discarded immediately as they are a health hazard. Consider hiring cleaning services in Wellington to sanitise and make sure all surfaces in the affected area are clean.
Your furniture will also most likely be affected in a flood. Depending on the intensity of the flood, you may be able to bring your furniture out to dry and the clean it off after. For porous material like couches and beds, you’ll need to evaluate to see if water actually seeped into the furniture or if it mostly stayed away. If there’s just slight damage from humidity, for example, you could get that leather couch repaired easily. Otherwise, submerged or heavily dampened furniture will probably be contaminated as well and need to be thrown out to prevent mold growth. You could also try taking it to a leather upholstery repair shop in Auckland to see if the frame is still good, and just the upholstery needs to be replaced.
5. Take photos
Make sure you take photos of all flood affected property for your insurance company. You’ll want to do this as soon as possible post flooding and when it’s safe to enter your home. Be a bit obsessive with photos, as in, take enough to make sure that the insurance company can see the whole picture of each affected area.
6. Remove water
Once you’ve got the photo evidence you need, you can begin the process of removing excess water. Depending on the amount of standing water, you might want to bring in some professional help who have the equipment to move large amounts of water. If most of the water has already sunk into your home or belongings, gather as many fans as you can and set them up to get the best airflow.
You might want to buy or borrow some dehumidifiers as well. One of the main issues with a home post flooding is the mold. Mold can start growing within a couple of days, so urgency is key here. Any areas of mold that have already started growing should be handled with gloves and a strong cleaning agent.
Now that you’ve gone through all these steps, you never want to have to do it again, right? Make sure you locate the source of the flooding to stop it and know how to prevent it next time. Remember to periodically check your home for probable causes of floods, and hopefully you’ll be able to avoid this mess altogether in the future!