First things first: Assess the situation
Whether you're returning home after fleeing a flooding incident caused by a storm or an overflowing river, or you've gotten back from a recent vacation to a water-logged basement, the first thing to do following a flood is to assess the damage. You should immediately look for any indicators of structural damage to the home. If you suspect that any utilities – gas, oil, electricity, sewage leaks, etc. – have been impacted, contact the respective utility company.
If you must enter the water for any reason, be sure to wear waders or waterproof boots that are higher than the water level. Even if the power is out, disable all fuse connections to reduce the risk of electrocution should it come back on. Use a flashlight for visibility. Remember, your top priority is safety. Finally, make sure your insurance agent has been made aware of the event.
Begin the cleanup
If the flood water is from a sanitary source such as a sink, a broken water supply line or rain and has been standing for less than 48 hours, it could be a do-it-yourself job. If this is the case, the first priority should be to get all of the water out. If it sits for 48 hours or more, it can become gray water, at which point it will need to be handled professionally.
Assuming that the water accumulation isn't extensive enough that it will need to be pumped out, you can start by using a mop to soak up some of the excess water. Once any pooling and puddles have been cleared away, you can set up a wet-dry vacuum cleaner. It's safer to do it this way since there will be less water, and a reduced chance of the appliance's power cord causing a shock.
Know when to call a professional
To reiterate, if the water has been standing for 48 hours or more, call a professional. Also, if the source of the leak is discharge from a household appliance such as a dishwasher or a washing machine, the resulting water will be classified as gray water. This demands professional treatment. Last but not least, gray water that has been allowed to soak for 48 hours may become black water, at which point it is extremely dangerous. Other sources of black water include overflowing rivers, ocean water or streams. Black water contains dangerous pathogens and should never be handled alone.
If you ever find yourself in any of the above situations, or if you're just overwhelmed and need a helping hand, contact your Palm Bay Roto-Rooter right away.
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