When a house floods indoors, the immediate and obvious threat is structural damage. But what many homeowners do not realize is that floodwater poses a much longer list of hazards; ones that threaten both your health and safety. Continue reading to learn why indoor floodwaters are dangerous and how to safely manage an indoor flood if it happens to you.
Indoor Floodwater Hazards
An indoor flood is a messy and dangerous situation. Not only is your house going to suffer a serious amount of damage, floodwaters will pose several other hazards, all of which can affect both people and pets. The top four most threatening risks of floodwater include injury, electrocution, drowning, and contamination.
Injury – Floodwaters can pose several accidents, namely slips and falls, but also, several others. As a result, orthopedic injuries, muscle strains and tears, and even concussions can take place. For this reason, it is important to avoid flooded areas of your home until they are under the control of professionals.
Electrocution – If your home is not completely disconnected from the town’s power grid, including generators, making even the slightest form of contact with floodwater that covers electrical outlets can cause serious electrocutions. Never under any circumstances enter a flooded basement until a licensed professional has confirmed your home is not connected to any electrical power suppliers.
Drowning – Drowning is an extreme and devastating threat posed by floodwaters. In most moderate cases, such as residential indoor flooding, pets are mostly at risk of drowning. However, infants, children, and elderly individuals are also highly susceptible to drowning accidents when an indoor flood occurs.
Contamination – Contamination is a commonly overlooked threat of indoor flooding. Mold, bacteria, and other organisms that develop as a result of standing water can pose serious health implications for both people and pets. Most often, mold outbreaks cause or worsen upper respiratory conditions, especially in those with weakened or suppressed immune systems.
The Meaning of Floodwater Colors
The color of floodwater can tell you the extent of threat they pose. Clean floodwater is deemed safe and not an immediate threat to your health. Common examples of clean floodwater include appliances, toilet tanks, melted snow, and rain. These are the types of floodwaters that are generally safe to clean up yourself; however, clean floodwater can turn into grey waters in as little as 2 days.
Grey floodwaters, also known as sullage, are considered wastewater, and therefore, a much higher threat than clean floodwater. Although grey floodwaters do not contain fecal waste, they do contain a long list of other hazardous, illness-causing contaminants. Furthermore, they can quickly develop into the most dangerous and destructive floodwaters in just 48 hours.
Known as blackwater, this type of floodwater generally happens on a larger scale, such as the result of a hurricane. However, they often develop in residential homes if unaddressed for a period of time. Black floodwaters contain bacteria and pathogens that will cause illness. They also will destroy anything they come into contact with, including carpets, flooring, drywall, upholstery, and furniture.
What to Do if Your House Floods
The first thing you should do if you discover a burst pipe or flooding incident in your home is TURN OFF THE MAIN WATER SHUTOFF VALVE. This will disconnect your water supply and stop the floodwaters from increasing.
Once you have cut off your water supply, your next step should be to do your best to mitigate the water. Use towels, wet vacs, bowls, buckets, and anything else you have on hand to get as much water out of your house as possible. IMPORTANT: Do not do this step if there is risk of electrocution. Only try to clean up flooding if you discover it right away. Higher floodwaters can pose risk of electrocution.
Your last step is to contact a licensed Indianapolis plumber for emergency plumbing service. They will drain your floodwater, and then repair the plumbing issue that caused the flood to happen.
Emergency Plumbing Service You Can Trust
Call Weilhammer Plumbing Co. Inc. at 317-784-1870 when you need emergency plumbing services in Indianapolis at an affordable price. We offer a wide range of standard and master plumber services for both residential and commercial properties. We also offer free estimates, free plumbing advice, and even free haul-away for old plumbing appliances like water heaters, water softeners, sump pumps, and more. Request a free estimate, today.