The Most Common Dangers in Homes Following a Flood
In the aftermath of a flood, homes are susceptible multiple dangers. Whether it’s bacteria, mould, electricity, or rapid streams – all pose a danger to the health and safety of the occupants. Here are the most common hazards following a home flood, and tips to avoid them:
Diseases and Infections
- Diseases can be contracted by eating or drinking contaminated products. Floodwaters can directly infect food with bacteria like E. coli or Salmonella, or indirectly during a power surge. There’s also the risk of wound infection when coming in contact with floodwater.
- Food that has come in direct contact with floodwater, including bottled drinks and products in jars, should be discarded. Intact, canned goods may be washed and disinfected.
- Perishable foods like meat or eggs, which have been left at above 5 degrees Celsius for more than four hours, should also be discarded.
- All medicines, cosmetics, and other toiletries that have touched floodwater must be thrown away.
- Those who have made contact with floodwater should practice good hygiene – wash hands frequently with soap and water.
- Kids must not be allowed play in floodwater or with toys contaminated by floodwater.
- Those who have an open wound should cover it with a waterproof bandage and avoid exposure to floodwater.
Rapid Flowing Waters
- It’s critical to avoid driving through flowing water even if it’s just a few centimetres deep. The vehicle may break down or get swept away.
- Those who choose to drive on flooded roads must monitor road conditions and obey closure signs. They should also be aware of road hazards such as mud, building debris, tree limbs, and pot holes.
- Walking through flowing water must be avoided as well. Rapidly moving water can be deadly, even for experienced swimmers.
- Areas with mould, which can form within 24-48 hours of a flood, should be avoided. Mould must be removed before moving back into the home. For mould and water damage cleanup, a professional damage restoration company, such as PuroClean, should be hired.
- Gasoline, propane, and diesel-powered equipment should be run only in well-ventilated outdoor areas to prevent carbon monoxide
- It’s best to stay away from building materials that may contain lead, such as painted surfaces and pipes.
- No one should enter areas where asbestos may have been used as construction material.
- Those who are returning home after a flood should be aware of potential chemical hazards that floodwaters could have carried.
- Only firefighters or other trained personnel should move propane tanks, as they may cause a fire or explode.
- It’s best to stay away from flooded cars to avoid electrical shock and contact with acid that may have spilled from a damaged car battery.
Electrical and Gas Dangers
- Electrical lines, wires, equipment, and fixtures should never be touched during and after a flood.
- No one should walk or drive through floodwater if downed power lines are in it.
- Property owners must not enter their home if the main power switch was not turned off before flooding. A qualified electrician must first declare the home safe before re-entering.
- The home must be evacuated if anyone smells methane gas inside.
- In the aftermath of a flood, all kids of debris may be potentially dangerous: broken glass, construction or demolition debris, and tree limbs.
To learn more about home flooding safety, here are tips to protect homes from flooding and how to keep water out of a basement. The PuroClean team stands ready to provide professional restoration services to any property affected by fire, water or mould damage.