So far, 2016 has brought some epic weather events to the tri-state area. January saw record-setting coastal flooding in the aftermath of a historic blizzard, and February brought freezing temperatures (and lots of frozen and burst pipes) as well as heavy rainstorms that drenched much of the state.
Homes and businesses across New Jersey have been busy cleaning up from massive and minor flooding this winter. If you are dealing with the repercussions of a flood in your home or at your business, here are a few tips:
Turn off all gas and electricity.
Before doing any remediation work, make sure to shut off the building’s or home’s main power switch—even if the power company has turned off electricity to the area. Do this while standing on something dry (not while feet are wet or submerged in water). When in doubt, call the gas and electric companies to send out a professional.
Never go inside a home that might be structurally damaged.
If there is standing water outside the walls of your home/building or you see fallen power lines, a sagging roof or ceiling, cracks in the foundation, or other serious damage, don’t go inside. Call an inspector to have a professional inspect the building for you.
Remove any standing water.
Flood water has many contaminants and microorganisms that can be hazardous to one’s health. As quickly as feasible, remove all standing water from the structure.
Dry things out.
Once standing water is removed, dry out all flooring, walls, ceilings, furniture, and any other belongings. Make sure to reduce the humidity in the home/building as well. You can do this by opening up doors and windows if the humidity outside is lower than inside. Or, you can run dehumidifiers and fans and use desiccants (materials that absorb moisture) in areas through which air cannot easily move.
Clean all surfaces.
Every flooded part of the structure must be washed and disinfected to ensure the safety and health of all residents/occupants. Keep in mind that cleaning and disinfecting are different but important steps. You’ll need to clean all surfaces first, then disinfect them to kill germs left by floodwaters. If you need to get rid of mold or mildew, use a commercial mildew remover. (Learn more about mold mitigation.)
Check all utilities.
Once it is safe, you can restore all utilities to your home, including electricity, sewage, and water—but it’s a good idea to contact the companies that serve your area first to ensure you follow proper procedure. Don’t drink any water until you’re certain it is clean and safe—contact your local health department to inquire about testing.
For more detailed tips on how to clean up your property after a flood, read the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s “Flood Cleanup” fact sheet and the American Red Cross’s publication, “Repairing Your Flooded Home.”
Flood cleanup can be overwhelming, and it is important to do it right—for the safety of you and your family or building occupants. AOA Cleaning & Restoration can help. Call us at 201-848-8600 to learn more about our flood restoration services.