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5 Essential Flood Safety Tips For Your Family

Friday, April 20th, 2018

flood dangerFlood safety can be an issue no matter where you live. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, no geographic locale in the U.S. is totally immune to flooding from some source. In an average year, about 85 people are killed by floods in the U.S. However, “average” can be misleading: over twice that many (175) died in 2015.

The basics of flood safety sound simple: Go away when you’re told to leave and stay away until it’s safe to come home. However, a number of measures need to be taken while you’re home, when you leave and after you return.

1. Get Ready

If the potential for flooding exists, stay alert by monitoring TV and radio broadcasts. Prepare for  evacuation and inform all family members. Decide what to do about pets. Move valuables including furniture and electronics to a higher level in the house if possible. Disconnect electrical appliances.

2. Evacuate Promptly

If told to evacuate, do so without delay. Stay on recommended routes and don’t deviate to observe the flood.  If rising water stalls your car, abandon the vehicle immediately and climb to higher ground. Water less than a foot deep can sweep you off your feet so don’t wade into moving water. Avoid active disaster areas where rescue or emergency crews are working.

3. After The Flood Is Over

Don’t return home until you are given an all-clear. If the house is flooded, don’t enter it until electricity has been shut off—preferably by a qualified electrician removing the meter. Shut off natural gas at the meter valve.

4. Safety At Home

Be aware of hazards posed by contaminated floodwater. Avoid contact with bare skin, eyes and by inhalation. Stay out of rooms with sagging ceilings or bulging, drooping walls. Structure could collapse at any time.

5. In The Aftermath

Toxic mold growth in the house is a frequent after-effect of indoor flooding. Mold may cause illness and allergic reactions if not appropriately treated by qualified personnel. Report any symptoms to your physician.

 

What Kind Of Flood Protection Do I Need For My House?

Thursday, April 12th, 2018

flood protectionWhether you live in a climate that sees heavy rains or you just want to avoid damage from a backed-up toilet or broken pipe, flood protection is worth the investment. Some of the most effective precautions are as simple as basic home maintenance.

Keep the Water Out

There’s a lot you can do to prevent floor water from entering your home. Grade the ground around your house at a slope of around 1 inch per foot for 6 feet to direct water away from the foundation. Keep your gutters clean and make sure your downspouts extend at least 3 feet away from your house.

Have a sump pump with a battery backup installed in the lowest point of your basement or crawlspace. The pump will automatically switch on when it fills with water and pump the water away from house. Also consider a backwater valve, which prevents sewage from backing up into your home during heavy rainfall.

Protect Your Interior

With a few extra precautions, you can protect your home from damage even if it does flood. Firmly secure your major appliances, such as your furnace, water heater, and washing machine to platforms at least a foot above your local base flood elevation as determined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Ideally, all your wiring and electrical components should be a foot above base flood level, but when this isn’t possible, check that wiring in parts of the house that might flood are rated for underground use and that your outlets are ground fault interrupters.

For extra flood protection, waterproofing coatings are also an option. These are applied to your walls to prevent water from penetrating.

Consider installing a water leak detection and alarm system. These system are based on water-sensors usually placed near water-using appliances, plumbing fixtures, and leak-prone areas such as the basement or attic. When the system senses water nearby, it alerts you with an alarm. Some even turn off your house’s water supply, preventing flooding when you’re away.

Post-flood Hazards To Watch Out For In Your Home

Tuesday, April 10th, 2018

flood hazardsCarpet mold after flooding is just one of the issues that confronts a homeowner as the water recedes. Once-familiar surroundings can seem like an alien environment following major water damage. Before you’ve even come to grips with what’s already happened, you have to make decisions about what needs to be done next.

Not so fast. A flooded home is a source of hazards you need to be aware of. Before you enter the house and spend time on the premises, keep in mind these ongoing safety issues.

Utility Issues
Make sure power is turned off at the main electrical panel before you enter any wet areas of the home. If accessing the panel is unsafe due to residual water, leave the house and call an electrician. Natural gas lines may have ruptured as appliances were shifted by floodwater, posing fire or explosion hazard. Turn the gas off at the meter before entering the house.

Toxic Hazards
Outdoor floodwater is contaminated by raw sewage, pesticides, fuel and other substances. Communicable bacteria like E. Coli commonly infects floodwater, too. Avoid contact with bare skin and wash thoroughly before handling food or eating. Residue such as mud left behind is also tainted.

Air inside a flooded house may be hazardous. Within 48 hours after exposure to water, toxic mold growth is triggered, releasing airborne spores that may cause severe allergic response or illness when inhaled. Carpeting and padding are highly absorbent so carpet mold after flooding is a virtual certainty. Because toxic water may have inundated HVAC ductwork, the system should be inspected and cleaned if necessary before operating the A/C or furnace.

Structural Danger
Water-saturated drywall is heavy and may collapse under its weight without warning. Stay away from bulging walls or sagging ceilings. Buckled flooring may cause trip and fall hazards. The home’s foundation may be compromised due to severe flooding, as well. Tilting walls or a shifting roof are signs that could indicate a potential structural collapse.

Whether its carpet mold after flooding or structural dangers caused by water damage, Rytech professionals are ready to respond.