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Your First Steps After a Flood

When water enters your home, the potential for additional damage increases with every hour. As soon as you can get to the phone, call a water restoration team to make the most of the first few hours to minimize loss.

What to do until help arrives

While you wait for the professionals, here are some things you can do to minimize additional damage and speed the cleanup process.

  • If circuit breakers can be safely accessed, turn off power in all affected areas.
  • If practical, mop up or blot the wet area with towels.
  • Anything that could cause staining on wet carpets or floors, like books or newsprint items should be removed (especially Oriental rugs.)
  • Remove all moisture sensitive items and store in a dry, safe place.
  • Lift up draperies that have come into contact with wet carpeting.
  • If the water is contaminated, avoid all contact with wet areas. Let the professionals with proper equipment deal with this.
  • Do not spread water from room to room if the wet areas are clearly contaminated.
  • Do not enter any room where there is an electric shock hazard possible from exposed outlets, switches, circuit breakers or equipment.
  • Do not use any electrical appliance, including ceiling fixtures, while standing on wet carpet, concrete or flooring of any type.

Prioritize Your Time

After the initial shock of a home flood, immediate action is crucial. Since mold and mildew work faster than you do, maximize the first few hours of effort. Quickly inventory your contents and identify the objects with the best chances of saving. Focus on high-value items that were not waterlogged. If a piece of furniture is ruined, can you later salvage a part of it (like the marble top or brass hinges) for a replacement piece instead of wasting time now?

Dangers Lurk in a Flooded House

Before entering a flooded home, be aware of hazards inside. Downed power lines, gas leaks and chemical spills expose you to immediate danger. The storm may allow access to vermin like snakes, fire ants, rats, or hornets.

During clean up, additional problems may develop. Structural damage may show up as large wall cracks or a saggy ceiling. Carbon monoxide poisoning from generators is a deadly possibility.  Wet food may begin to rot in the refrigerator and pantry. Mold and mildew start to grow within 24 hours.

Engage Experts with a Plan

Working with a water restoration team with experience can eliminate duplicate efforts for maximum results. Start with an agenda:

Air out

Open all the windows and doors, including cabinets, dressers, and pantries. Get ventilation to the attic and basement.  Significant additional property destruction, such as mold growth and major damage to wood floors, cabinets, sheetrock, insulation and other structural materials and contents, can occur when buildings are not dried quickly.

Move Out

Get all salvageable items to a safe place, either on a dry floor or in the garage. Consider any porous cushions suspect; if touched by contaminated water they are impossible to save.

Tear Out

Install plastic barriers to unaffected rooms before you remove sheetrock and carpeting.

Clean Out

Use bleach and other cleaners with caution. Professional remediation teams have access to professional chemicals and the proper safety equipment.

Dry Out

Even if you are successful in removing all of the standing water from your home, everything will remain damp and wet, especially if heavy rains have increased the humidity in your area. If you have power, use your air conditioning and portable fans to help dry the wet areas of your home. Use the biggest and most efficient fans available. For example, ICC utilizes specialized equipment to dry wet buildings two to three times faster than home rental equipment.

Experts in Minnesota

With ICC, you are assured the latest in high tech inspection tools to determine the extent of the damage. Years of experience drying hardwood floors, plaster walls, tile, and concrete ensure your items will be well cared for. State-of-the-art drying procedures, including “Directed Heat Drying®” technology help minimize potential health hazards that can be caused by water damage. Expert contents restoration may include removal, drying, and storage of your contents at a secure climate-controlled storage facility, as required.


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