SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - In response to heavy rain this week that caused flooding in the area, the nonprofit Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, Inc. (FLASH)® offers the following flood cleanup tips for families.
After the Flood: Structural Considerations
Check for building stability before entry - sticking doors at the top may indicate a ceiling at risk of collapse.
Check foundation for any loose or missing blocks, bricks, stones or mortar.
Assess stability of plaster and drywall - any bulging or swelling ceilings indicate damage that should be removed. Press upward on drywall ceilings. If nail heads appear, drywall will need to be re-nailed but can be saved.
To prevent warping of wooden doors, remove and disinfect all knobs and hardware, and lay flat and allow to air dry completely.
Remove wet drywall and insulation well above the high water mark.
After the Flood: Insurance Tips
Take extensive photos and video for insurance claims. Only flood insurance typically covers damage from floods.
Remove damaged items from the home. If you need evidence of damage, save swatches (carpet, curtains, etc.) for your insurance adjuster
After the Flood: Mold & General Clean Up
Wash and disinfect all surfaces, including cupboard interiors with a solution of 1/2 cup bleach to two gallons of water. Remove sliding doors and windows before cleaning and disinfect the sliders and the tracks.
Clean and disinfect concrete surfaces using a mixture of TSP (trisodium phosphate) and water. Mix according to manufacturer's directions and apply to entire surface.
Liquid cleaners can remove mud, silt and greasy deposits. Liquid detergents work on washable textiles. Use diluted bleach if item is safe for bleach.
The National Archives has information on how to clean up your family treasures. Although it may be difficult to throw certain items away, especially those with sentimental value, experts recommend that if you can't clean it, you should dispose of it, especially if it has come into contact with water that may contain sewage
After the Flood: Home air quality considerations and mold prevention
Clean and disinfect heating, air conditioning and ventilation ducts before use to avoid spread of airborne germs and mold spores.
Use fans and allow in sunlight to dry out interior spaces.
To avoid growth of microorganisms, household items should be dried completely before they are brought back in the house. Although the drying process can take a long time, homeowners should be patient because it is necessary to keep a home's air quality healthy. Some household items may take longer than others to dry, such as upholstered furniture and carpets.
Remove wallpaper and coverings that came into contact with floodwaters. Don't repaint or repair until drying is complete and humidity levels in the home have dropped.
Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)®, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, is the country's leading consumer advocate for strengthening homes and safeguarding families from natural and manmade disasters. FLASH collaborates with more than 120 innovative and diverse partners that share its vision of making America a more disaster‐resilient nation including: BASF, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Florida Division of Emergency Management, The Home Depot®, International Code Council, Kohler® Generators, National Weather Service, Portland Cement Association, RenaissanceRe, Simpson Strong-Tie®, State Farm™, USAA® and WeatherPredict Consulting Inc. In 2008, FLASH opened the interactive weather experience StormStruck: A Tale of Two Homes® in Lake Buena Vista, FL. Learn more about FLASH and gain access to its free consumer resources by visiting www.flash.org or calling (877) 221- SAFE (7233). Also, get timely safety tips to ensure that you and your family are protected from natural and manmade disasters by subscribing to the FLASH blog – Protect Your Home in a FLASH.