What to do if you return to a flooded home
Posted by Phineas Gray , on Dec, 2014
If your home is inundated with flood water, the result can be catastrophic; you may be forced to flee from your home, leaving everything behind. Once everyone is out safely, your thoughts turn to the amount of flood damage in Philadelphia area that your home suffered; you become anxious to get back to the home and begin the cleanup process.
However, before you rush back into the house the moment the water recedes, think of all the hidden dangers that may be lurking, do not go back in too quickly, or you may become a statistic of the flood.
Check outside first:
Walk-around your home, look for any power lines that are down or any electrical connections that are underwater or in any way in contact with water. Breathe deep, smell the air, do you smell gas? If you do, there is a gas leak somewhere close by; perhaps your gas connection has been broken by the flood waters.
In the event you find either an electrical or gas problem do not attempt any repairs yourself, contact the utility company and have the problem corrected as soon as possible. If there is still standing water around the foundations, check the basement walls closely, the pressure of the waterlogged soil pushing against the walls can easily buckle them. If you observe any movement of the walls, do not under any circumstances enter the house, it could collapse with you in it. As you walk around, pay particular attention to porches and overhangs, which could easily have been weakened by the flood.
Electricity and Gas connections:
If you find that the flood damage in Philadelphia has not interfered with the electrical or gas services, it is a good idea to shut them off anyway as a precaution. By shutting off these utilities you eliminate or greatly reduce the potential of an explosion or being electrocuted. If the power to the house is broken at the pole, remember, the main breaker in the house is still on. During the day, the power company can come along, repair the problem and your electrical system will be live. If there is a problem in the home, you may be subjected to a shock.
If the only way to turn the electricity and gas off is from within the house, do not attempt to enter and disconnect if there is water where you will have to stand. Electricity and water are a lethal combination; do not go near the power box until the area is completely dry. Many people die every year by not following these simple rules, do not enter the house until the water has receded.