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A Flood? In Your Home? It’s More Likely Than You Think

floodproofWith a few heavy rainstorms late in June, fears abound that we could be facing a repeat of 2013’s Toronto Storm. While we may or may not be seeing another catastrophic flood in Southern Ontario this year, it helps to be prepared for any potential floods that could damage your property and possessions.

Preventing a Flood In Your Home

When a flood strikes, it may be already too late to save some possessions in your home. And floodwater in any amount can damage your home’s structure, flooring, and walls and leave behind moldy residues. So instead of waiting for disaster to strike, make sure you have a Flood Prevention Plan in place.

  • Make sure your home’s foundations are waterproofed. Look for cracks, pits in the earth, and weaknesses in foundation.
  • If your home has a sump pump, ensure it can receive backup power in event of a power outage. A personal generator or battery can help.
  • Clear your gutters and troughs to make sure no water buildups can occur on your exterior.
  • Repair or replace downspouts around your home that are not up to standards.
  • Fill in sunken areas on your lot with heavy dirt or soil.

A majority of home flood occurs because systems designed to prevent floods are either damaged or unused. So make sure these basic systems are functional and kept up to date.

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When the Levies Break

When a flood happens, the first few minutes are critical for damage control and protecting your possessions. We can’t always prevent a flood from happening, but we can mitigate the damage floods can do.

  • Clear any and all electronics that are touching the floor including loose wires. If the electronics are already compromised, see if you can shut off power to that area safely.
  • If the path to your breaker box is flooded, you need to call a professional. Never attempt to shut off power when that area is flooded.
  • Do not attempt to use your sink, shower, bath, or toilets during a flood. If your sewage line is blocked, you could get a sewage backflow, which is even more dangerous.
  • If your sump pump has lost power and you have no means to drain the water, you can dump buckets of water in the toilet to slow down water gain in a basement. This is not a permanent solution, however.

Even grey water (runoff from storms and water lines) carry bacteria and pathogens. Always wear thick boots, gloves, and goggles if you need to go into your basement. Always wash up after doing any cleanups.

Cleaning up After Disaster

Once a flood as abated, you need to start cleanup immediately to prevent future structural and property damage. This may be the most hazardous part of the job, as flood waters can and will make you sick without proper protection. So be careful at all times, and call for professional help if you’re ever in doubt.

  • Ensure all water is effectively drained from your home before attempting a full assessment.
  • Make sure all outlets and power cords are dry and undamaged before restoring power to those areas. We recommend you wait for an electricians inspection before attempting to do so
  • Always wear gloves and boots as before. Also consider a respiratory mask to prevent mold from entering your lungs, or the inhalation of bacteria.
  • Use a shovel to move debris. Never reach into the water to move or pick up an object.
  • Boil all water that you use in your home until it’s safely assured that your water is safe for cooking or drinking.
  • Remove all waterlogged debris and wash furniture and walls with a pine oil solution to prevent fungus buildup.
  • If you have homeowner’s or property insurance, make sure to document all aspects of your damage and cleanup to help you in making a claim.

We hope a flood never happens to your home, because controlling the damage and cleaning up is a hazardous, stressful, and dirty job. However, should a flood happen in this volatile Ontario summer, we encourage you to take the right steps and preserve the health and wellbeing of you and your family.