Towns throughout North and South Carolina continue to flood due to the after-effects of Hurricane Florence. Rivers have overflowed their banks and inundated homes, businesses, schools, and roads with water. Residents of flooded areas from inland towns to the coast have been forced to leave their homes.
More flooding is expected as rivers in the Carolinas crest. In many cases, homes along swollen rivers and creeks will be declared total losses. However, some homes can be salvaged after the flooding. Here's what you should know.
1. Don't Hesitate to Start Cleanup
If you're eager to start cleaning up your flood-damaged home, you don't have to wait until the insurance adjuster arrives. Once you're allowed to go back to your flooded home, you can begin to remove debris and start sorting through the mess.
However, you must proceed with extreme caution when entering your water-logged home. Be absolutely certain that all gas and electric utilities are shut off at the mains before you go inside your home.
Wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and sturdy, waterproof boots when working in and around flood waters, especially if you aren't sure what's in the water. Also, wear gloves and use eye protection to avoid contamination of hands and eyes from dirty water.
Before inspectors or adjusters arrive, you can:
Take pictures of damage inside and outside
Move debris to make damage visible
Remove items you wish to salvage
Move dangerous debris like sharp metal
Don't throw out any of your damaged goods, even if you take pictures. Pile items in the yard or garage to prove your losses to your insurance adjuster.
2. Understand the Risks of Physical Problems From Dirty Waters
Be extra cautious when handling floodwater or anything soaked by or full of floodwater. The water itself and any items touched by the floodwater are typically contaminated with bacteria, chemicals, and filth.
Floodwaters can sicken you with:
Runny nose and cough
Infected wounds and rashes
Many of the pathogens that cause flood-related sicknesses grow in moist homes after the flood waters have receded. While working with flood-damaged materials, wash your hands frequently, allow good ventilation into the home, and wear a face mask when working in musty or moldy indoor conditions.
3. Know the Risks of Toxins in Water
The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDOEQ) sends out inspectors to collect samples of floodwater after every major flooding event in the state. Officials test samples for various toxins and contaminants that are known to harm people and animals.
Contaminants in water can include:
Hog, poultry, and animal manure
Raw human sewage
Toxic coal ash
Gasoline and oil
Industrial and waste byproducts
Currently, inspectors are hampered by flooded roads and other difficulties, but they will continue to conduct water testing in affected areas. Contact the NCDOEQ to learn more about test results from the floodwaters near you.
4. Call for Expert Help
Your disaster restoration company has the tools and skills to repair your home and remove water damage. While you can do some cleanup yourself, you may not be able to accurately assess where mold is growing or where flooring must be replaced.
Let your restoration company do the heavy work of drying out your home and repairing flood damage. They use special probes and infrared sensors to detect unseen water damage.
A restoration team works thoroughly and quickly to get you back into your home. You don't have to purchase any special dehumidifiers, vacuums, disinfectant equipment, or other cleanup tools. The restoration team has professional water-damage-remediation equipment to make your home safe, dry, and healthy once more.
To have our inspectors assess your home for floodwater damage, contact Piedmont Disaster Services. We offer water damage remediation in North and South Carolina from Spartanburg to Charlotte.