If you have a flooded basement you need to make sure you take the proper safety precautions, both during the discovery phase and the clean up phase. This article will outline the steps you need to keep yourself and your family safe when your basement floods.
Turn Off the Gas and Electrical Supplies
The first steps you should take when you discover a flood in your basement is to turn off the gas and electrical supply. You will want to turn the gas off in case the flood has caused any gas leaks. The flood may have also come in contact with electrical sockets or appliances, so you will need to shut off the electricity as well.
Only try turning off your electricity if you do not have to stand in water to do so. Find a wooden stick or broom handle and open the door to your circuit breaker panel or fuse box. Use the stick to turn the main switch and any other switches off if it’s a circuit breaker panel. If it’s a fuse box, use the stick to switch the main lever off. When the main power is off unscrew and remove all the fuses.
Inspect Your Home and the Surrounding Area
Floods can cause damage to buildings, especially if they are due to heavy rain or snowfall. Check for the following things
- Any structural damage to your home
- Any gas leaks inside or outside of your home
- Any downed power lines (alert the city if you find any)
Ventilate your home
It’s a good idea to ventilate your home to help remove any unwanted fumes or moisture. To do this, simply open the doors and windows. For more serious cases of flooding you may want to consider using large fans or blowers to ventilate your home more quickly.
Wear protective Clothing When Cleaning Up
Floods bring with them a number of health risks, including bacteria, mold etc., so you will want to properly protect yourself when cleaning up a flood . Wear protective clothing, including overalls, gloves and rubber boots. If you believe sewage water has entered your home wear protective eye glasses and a facemask to prevent yourself from inhaling harmful gases.
Sanitize your entire basement, including furniture and other salvaged items, with bleach to kill any harmful bacteria.