What to Do First After a Basement Flood

There’s no doubt about it—dealing with water disasters at your home or business is one of the more frustrating emergency situations as a property owner. The chance of suffering from a water leak or water disaster is always present, even if you have never experienced a flood before. 

Responding quickly to a flood can help mitigate damage and can help you recover faster. The team at Exit Mold breaks down the specifics of dealing with a flooded basement below.

What to Do First After a Basement Flood

Table of Contents

Potential Risks of a Flooded Basement 

Floods can be caused by many different situations, but each instance can be really impactful. A heavy rain can overwhelm your foundation and leak down your walls, a burst pipe can quickly lead to standing water, or even something catastrophic like a broken dam or levee in our community can send large amounts of water into your lowest level at a moment’s notice. 

If your basement does flood due to any of the aforementioned disasters, do your best to stay calm. Staying calm can help you respond with a clearer head and it is crucial for your safety.

Depending on the source of the water, it could be dangerous to come into contact with so stay on higher ground as you navigate your basement.

Flood water could contain any number of harmful hazards: 

  • Sewage
  • Chemicals or substances like gasoline
  • Storm runoff
  • Sharp or heavy debris 
  • Household waste 
  • Bacteria and other harmful germs

A flooded basement can also pose electrical dangers. If you can stay out of the water completely on your way to your utility room, slowly navigate to your breaker box and turn off power to the entire area.

Potential Risks of a Flooded Basement - Exit Mold

If the flood was caused by a burst pipe or appliance malfunction, locate the water shutoff valve for the pipe in question to stop the flow of water. Getting the situation under control is always helpful, even if there is already a large amount of water on your floor.

You should also take the time to take in your surroundings. If you smell gas or if your carbon monoxide alarms are going off, exit your home immediately and call 911.

Responding to Basement Floods Quickly

After the initial shock of the situation has worn off, you might start to feel overwhelmed by the cleanup process ahead of you. Unfortunately, quick action is necessary to prevent even more problems for your property so waiting to respond isn’t really an option.

Lingering water can cause serious structural integrity issues for your walls and floors, a mold infestation could settle in and make you really sick, and musty odors could take over your entire house. 

The faster you respond, the better chance you have of making a full recovery without having to deal with lingering issues or costly repairs. Start by opening up windows and turning on some fans to kickstart the drying process. Doing so will ventilate your space and encourage any stinky odors to make their way out. 

You should also be documenting the damage at this time. Take as many pictures as you can, and then get your insurance company on the phone so you can explain what happened. 

They can start a claim to help with the financial cost of recovery, so taking pictures of the damage is a great way for them to understand the severity of the situation and to process the claim more accurately. 

After that, consider hiring a professional water damage restoration team to handle the water extraction and restoration.

Cleaning Up Basement Floods  

You might think that standing water can easily be cleaned up with some towels, a bucket, and a mop, but that will not take care of all the water. Water is sneaky and will immediately start to leak and seep under your floors, behind your walls, and into your ceiling as soon as it makes contact with these surfaces. 

While cleaning up the visible water will certainly help, there will be moisture left behind in those hard-to-reach areas that can become troublesome over time. Hiring a professional water damage restoration team will ensure every bit of moisture is removed. 

The Water Removal Process 

The first goal of flood recovery is to remove the standing water. This process usually involves industrial-sized hoses and pumps to pump the water out of your basement. Large fans will also be used to support this process by providing air movement and ventilation.

Keep windows open this entire time as well to keep the air circulating as much as possible. After the standing water is removed, specialized drying equipment like dehumidifiers will be able to access behind your walls and under your floors to ensure every bit of moisture is removed. Even if you can’t visibly see it, lingering moisture can still be found in these places long after the initial flood.  

The Water Removal Process

Once the water is removed, a professional water damage restoration team will take your recovery even further by drying wet furniture, tackling repairs and employing mold prevention strategies to make sure a mold infestation isn’t able to grow in your space after the water has been cleaned up.  

Tips to Prevent Future Basement Floods 

  • Install flood barriers around your home before heavy rain is predicted.
  • Flood proof your home by sealing windows, walls and foundation. 
  • Ensure your yard has the proper drainage that it needs.
  • Test your sump pump regularly. 
  • Check pipes and water lines frequently for cracks and leaks.

Dealing with flood damage? Contact the team at Exit Mold at (516) 512-7877 for immediate flood damage restoration assistance. 

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