You wake up in the morning and discover that a pipe has broken and your basement is flooded. Or you come home from work to find that a rainstorm caused the city storm system to back up into your house. Here are the steps to take to handle these emergencies and keep yourself safe.
1. Stop the flood from getting worse.
Get on the phone with an emergency plumbing company to have someone come out to find the flooding source and prevent it from getting worse. The plumber may ask you some questions on the phone to help stop the water leak. But if there is standing water in your house, let the plumber deal with it. You may be faced with wet electrical wiring and a potential shock should you wade through the water.
2. Shut the electricity off if you can do it safely.
If the circuit box for your house is dry, shut the main breaker off. This will make it safe to go into the wet areas and assess the damage. If you have any doubts about the safety of the breakers, don't risk getting injured and let the plumber handle it.
3. Determine the flood source before you wade in.
Water restoration companies categorize water based on the where it comes from and the contaminates that it may contain. For example:
- Category 1 flood water comes from a clean source, such as a water pipe or sink and won't harm you.
- Category 2 flood water comes from a dirty source, such as a toilet, and contains microorganisms that will harm you if you drink the water.
- Category 3 flood water comes from a dirty source, such as a sewer line, and contains microorganisms that are harmful to you if they touch your skin.
Know where the water is coming from before you get wet with it. If you can't find the source, wait until help arrives so you don't become infected with a bacteria or virus from the contaminated water.
4. Get personal items out of the water as soon as you can.
If you know the source of water to be clean, walk through the flooded area and pick up items that are damp but are at risk of becoming soaked. Leave the items that are already under water and focus on those still partially dry. The more soaked an item is, the harder it will be to save. It's best to take the items to a dry area, but at least get them up out of the water and on a shelf or on a piece of furniture that is already under water.
Once help arrives to stop the flood water, you can begin to assess the damage more fully. Contact your insurance agent and give them a heads-up about the flooding. They may be able to offer information about water damage services that will be helpful.
Above all, keep yourself and your family safe when dealing with a household flooding problem.
To learn more, contact an emergency plumbing company like Pipeworks Inc.