Staying Safe: What You Need to Know About Reentering a Flooded House

Before reentering a flooded house, make the safety of yourself and others your first priority. Anyone who’s been the victim of flooding knows the feeling of anxiety: you want to get back inside your home ASAP and check on the extent of damage to the structure and irreplaceable valuables. However, houses aren’t designed to hold water. Flooding from any source turns that familiar, safe environment into a danger zone for several reasons.

Here are some hazards of reentering a flooded house to be aware of.

reentering a flooded houseElectricity

Electrical power and a water-saturated environment mean danger from electrocution. If the electricity is still on, it should be shut off by an electrician. If local utility power has been interrupted by the flood, the house should still be considered unsafe because power could be restored unexpectedly at any moment. A professional electrician will shut the power off by removing the meter, then verify the safety of the system before restoring power.

Structural Collapse

Gypsum wallboard and composite ceiling panels can act like sponges and absorb water volume weighing hundreds of pounds. Typically, walls or ceilings bulge or sag under the weight and may collapse suddenly, injuring persons in the room. Stay out of rooms where walls are bulging or ceiling panels are sagging and/or dripping.

Gas-Fired Appliances

According to the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute, exposure to floodwater can make gas-fired furnaces, water heaters and stoves unsafe to operate. If there is any question whether water has contacted these units, don’t attempt to relight or use the system until it has been checked by a qualified HVAC contractor or plumber.

Toxic Sewage

Raw sewage is a biohazard. Overflowing sewage elsewhere may be swept up in floodwaters that inundate your home, or a flooded municipal system may reflux sewage back into your house through drains and other entry points. Take steps to protect yourself from raw sewage by wearing gloves, eye protection and waterproof boots. Wash your hands frequently and avoid contact with contaminated water.

Before reentering a flooded house, ask the professionals at Rytech about more ways to stay safe.

Tags: ,

Return to the Blog Home Page