Did you know that a flash flood can produce a wall of water as high as 15 feet? And did you also know that a flash flood can take just minutes to hours to develop that tall wall of water? Due to this, the authorities evacuate areas when flash floods are imminent.
Given these alarming numbers, you'll want to be sure to be prepared far ahead of time. But even with adequate preparation, you can expect water damage in your home if you live in an area that is prone to flash floods. Here's what you need to do before and after a flash flood evacuation.
Before—Pack a Bag
Keep a bag packed with all of the essentials your family needs so you are prepared when you need to leave the house in a hurry. Be sure to include diapers, baby wipes, medication, bottled water, and protein snacks in the bag. It's also a good idea to pack a change of clothing for each family member and an emergency stash of cash as well. In the event of a flood, ATMs may not work.
Before—Move Hazardous Materials Up
During a flood, water displaces everything that is not securely attached to the floors or walls. Chemicals may leak out of containers and contaminate the flood water as well as everything the water touches. To prevent a dangerous situation when you return to your home, move everything hazardous up to the top floor. This includes things like cleaning products, paint cans, and gasoline and oil for your lawnmower.
Before—Shut Off Your Power
Before you leave your home when an imminent flash flood evacuation is in process, try to shut off the power to your home. This is important so that there is no risk of electrocution when you return to your home to assess the damage and to start to clean up. Of course, if there is already water in your home, do not attempt to shut off the power at the circuit breaker box. Instead, call your electric company and ask them to power down your service manually.
After—Wait for the Water to Recede
Of course, when you return you'll be ready to get to work to remove the junk and damaged items from the flood. However, it's important to wait until the flood water has receded from your property and the surrounding area before you start removing the water from your basement. This is because there is a high amount of hydrostatic pressure from the saturated ground. This hydrostatic pressure can make your foundation walls collapse if you remove the water in your basement.
After—Remove the Damaged Items
After you've had a chance to remove the water in your basement and/or first floor, you'l need to remove the items and building materials that were damaged from the flood, which includes all affected carpeting and drywall. If you didn't get a chance to remove all of the hazardous materials and/or you didn't get the power shut off, it will be better for you to hire a junk removal service to do the clean up for you. You can expect them to perform the work while wearing protective clothing and gear while they clean up and remove the things that were damaged in the flood.
After—Hire a Home Inspector
After the damaged items and materials have been removed, hire a home inspection service before turning anything on, including the electricity and HVAC systems, and before using the water from your faucets. Ask the home inspector to test all of the mechanical systems in your home. Be prepared to make repairs or to replace items such as your furnace and water heater.