Check For Hazards When Returning Home
Going back into your home can be dangerous because flooding can cause structural, electrical and other hazards. Physical dangers are not necessarily over after the water goes down. Hazards are not always obvious. They can be potentially life-threatening if precautions are not taken.
Please be mindful of the following safety tips when returning home after a flood, hurricane or severe storm:
- Check your home before you go in. Carefully check outside your home for loose power lines, gas leaks, foundation cracks or other damage. See if porch roofs and overhangs still have all their supports. If you see damage, a building inspector or contractor should check the building before you enter.
- Turn off the electricity. Even if the power company has turned off electricity to the area, make certain your house's power supply is disconnected.
- If you suspect a gas leak or smell gas, leave your home immediately and call the gas company from a neighbor's house.
- Enter carefully. If the door sticks at the top, it could mean your ceiling is ready to fall. If you force the door open, wait outside the doorway in case debris falls.
- Check the ceiling for signs of sagging. Wind, rain, or deep flooding may wet plaster or wallboard. It is very heavy and dangerous if it falls.
- Make sure the electricity is off and hose down the house to remove health hazards left behind by floodwater mud. Shovel out as much mud as possible. Remove water quickly using a mop or squeegee.