According to insurance industry research, 14,000 homes a day have a water damage incident, and the average insurance claim is almost $7,000. The average age of a failed washing machine supply line is 8.7 years. Seventy-five percent (75%) of water heaters go bad within 12 years of installation, and thirty-seven percent (37%) of US homeowners claim to have suffered water loss damages. Water damage is all but inevitable at some point in time and to some degree. Here are six tips to consider when dealing with water damage.
These essential safety tips are for any situation — residential or commercial — where water is involved. The water damage may be from a damaged supply line on the washing machine, a broken water heater, or a toilet tank leak. Water damage from a natural disaster presents issues that go beyond the extent of an internally sourced water damage situation. When wrestling with a flooded home or business, the urge is to rush in, stop the source of the water, and begin the cleanup. Speed is critical in a water damage event, but safety is more important.
Tip #1: Remain calm, and do not panic.
Water damage to a home is stressful, especially if it damages furniture, ruins precious family mementos and heirlooms, or forces the residents to leave the house for several days or even longer. A trip to the hospital for chest pains only complicates matters. Knowing there are trained, experienced professionals who deal with water damage emergencies every day and do a great job in a timely fashion means the homeowner does not have to worry.
Tip #2: Identify and eliminate potential electrical dangers.
A flooded home is a very stressful challenge for the owner. While floor covering is replaceable and upholstery can be restored, electrocution can be fatal.
Personal safety is always the first concern in a water damage event, even before finding the source of the flooding and shutting off the water. If the whole house is flooded, electrical shock is always a concern. Homeowners should avoid stepping in the water until sources of potential electrical shock have been identified and eliminated. Appliances and extension cords in the water are dangerous, and a water damage issue could turn into a fire hazard if electrical appliances make contact with water. To be safe, shut off the power from outside the home or commercial building.
In a large-scale flood in a neighborhood, it is still possible to get electrocuted in the home with the power off at the meter. If someone nearby has a generator that is back feeding the power grid, it could present a hazard. Homeowners who are not familiar with basic principles of residential electricity should trust experienced professionals to take care of the situation.
Tip #3: Identify any hazards before entering the home or commercial building.
Terrible smells, skin irritation, or itching and burning eyes may indicate that the water on the floor or in the basement may be contaminated with chemicals that were then activated. Carefully do a smell test. Is the liquid on the floor contaminated with chemicals or raw sewage? Tracking raw sewage throughout the entire house can turn a relatively simple clean up into a clean up involving the whole home.
Tip #4: Avoid slipping and falling.
Beware of slippery surfaces. Walking on wet floors can be like walking on ice. Hold on to cabinets, chairs, a table, or other furniture when walking on slippery kitchen or bathroom floors. Wear stable shoes or boots that grip the floor, and do not slosh through water barefooted.
Tip #5: Use a flashlight when walking through areas that are dark or dimly lit.
If the flooding was so extensive as to require the electricity to be turned off, use a flashlight when assessing the damage. Adequate lighting improves balance and stability. Groping around in the dark can result in head and hand injuries. Bumping around in the dark can create further safety hazards if any furniture is turned over or glass is broken and mixed with the water.
Tip #6: Wear protective clothing.
Wear rubber gloves, protective eyewear, rubber boots, and a mask or respirator. If the leak occurred over an extended period, mold, mildew, and bacteria may be growing. Exposing the lungs, eyes, or skin could be harmful. Any exposure to contaminants, such as chemicals or sewage, could be toxic or even deadly.
Bonus Tip: Avoid lifting anything heavy.
Watch out for back injuries. Water-logged cushions, pillows, carpet, clothing, and padding are very heavy. A gallon of water weighs about 8 pounds. Be careful walking across slippery surfaces since an unexpected slip can injure the back, especially when carrying a heavy load.
The safest plan of action is to shut off the electricity and water, call the water damage specialists at All Nation Restoration, and wait, especially if the situation is extensive and the environment is hazardous. The average response time for All Nations Restoration is less than one hour. Each circumstance is different and has its own set of safety hazards.
An immediate response from a water damage specialist like All Nation Restoration is crucial because much of the damage happens in the first few hours of an incident. Getting a trained technician with the best equipment on the scene as soon as possible is always a best-case solution in a worst-case scenario.
All Nation Restoration is a full-service water, fire, smoke, mold and biohazard company in the Austin and Waco areas. With over eight years of experience in the damage restoration industry, the team has completed thousands of jobs. All Nation Restoration regularly improves the staff and services by implementing new training, technology, and techniques. Services include water damage, flood damage, fire damage, smoke damage, mold damage, and biohazard cleanup.