Water Damage - What to do after
"April showers" are sometimes much more than
just a bit of rain. Spring weather can include a wide
range of weather activity - including serious storms
with severe winds that can cause serious structure damage
and heavy rainfall that can cause over-the-ground flooding,
or even flooding from streams and rivers. The storm
season is upon us! If you experience damage of any size,
these tips may help you get your home back in order
more quickly. Keep this advice handy for quick reference.
o Call your agent as soon as possible.
o Take photographs of the damage.
Getting help for you flood
When checking your home or business for damages,
watch out for fallen power lines, standing water
that may be electrically charged, and wild animals
driven into the open.
Plumbing: Check pipes inside and outside
your home (i.e. irrigation systems). Within your
home, there are usually shut-off valves in specific
areas near toilets and under sinks. If necessary,
locate the master valve and shut off all water
to your home. If sewage is backing up in the shower
or under the toilet, it probably means your main
sewer line is clogged or broken. Don't make the
problem worse by using other sinks or toilets.
Call a professional for assistance.
Roofing: Check your roof for missing shingles.
Even if only a few shingles are lost, do not risk
life and limb by going onto your roof. Call a
professional roofer, contractor or handyman. They
have the skills, tools and equipment to do the
job safely and properly. Have them do a temporary
"fix" to stop rain coming in, until
a permanent solution can be arranged.
Electrical: Most damage to electrical systems
comes from water. Appliances exposed to water should
be disconnected from their power source and serviced
before being used. Check for frayed wires and watch
for sparks. If you have structural damage or see exposed
wires, call an electrician. Keep the power off - there
is the possibility of electrocution if you turn the
power on yourself. Exterior breaker boxes are typically
rain-tight but may not withstand a major storm - if
you suspect water has infiltrated the box, call an electrician
before turning on the power. Avoid metal fences - they
may carry a charge from fallen or dangling utility wires.
If a limb or tree has fallen on a power line near your
house, turn off the power and call the utility company.
If the limb touches your property, it becomes your responsibility.
Call an electrician. Do not attempt to cut or clear
fallen trees that are around power lines.
For flooding problems, your best plan is to call
a professional restoration company. If you decide
to do-it-yourself, here are some tips that may
help: because of contaminants (such as sewage,
oil, pesticides, etc.), take precautions and wear
boots, gloves, eye protection, and a respirator;
minimize the damage by removing standing water
(pump or squeegee the standing water and use a
vacuum only if it's a true wet-dry vacuum); remove
everything absorbent that has been contaminated
by flood water (carpeting, carpet padding, furniture,
drapes, etc.); use air movers and dehumidifiers
to dry out the area; throw away all medicines,
cosmetics, and foods - even canned goods - if
they have been submerged in floodwaters; check
for hidden moisture behind wallboards, and take
out damaged portions to avoid mold; and clean
floors and cabinets by washing them with detergent,
then disinfect with a disinfectant from the grocery
or hardware store. Remember, keep a photographic
(or video) inventory of anything you must throw
Firing up the chainsaw
Don't! Felling a broken tree or clearing away
a large downed tree can be dangerous. A professional
should be contacted.
Automobiles can easily be damaged by floodwaters, tree
limbs, or falling debris. If an automobile is damaged:
notify your insurance agent; cover broken windows if
the car appears salvageable; and list valuables in your
car that have been lost or damaged.
SCAM - ALERT
Unfortunately, storms and natural disasters bring out
those who take advantage of the situation. But by following
a few practical guidelines, you can help protect yourself
from additional loss: try to work with local or known
contractors (verify with the Yellow Pages); don't pay
for work until it is finished and you are satisfied
(if a reasonable down payment is required, get a written
contract detailing all the work to be performed); pay
with a check or a credit card. Beware of a contractor
who tries to pressure you. If an offer is only good
"now or never," find someone else. Obtain
written estimates for all proposed work that include
proposed scopes and prices. Also, beware of charity
scams that might use a storm to make their pleas for
donations more plausible; only give to organizations
you know and recognize.
Regardless of the circumstances - damage
from storms or floods, or damage from fire, smoke
or even mold, call PuroClean Home Rescue (866-722-7876),
the Paramedics of Property Damage. Our professionals
are standing by to mitigate the loss and prevent further
damage, and to provide restoration services to return
the property to a pre-loss condition as quickly as possible.
All PuroClean offices have professional, well-trained
technicians who provide the latest state-of-the-science
services to all property damaged from water, fire/smoke,
mold, and other disasters.