After the flood waters recede and the clean up has been done, most folks want to get back into their homes or businesses and start rebuilding. The problem is that wood that has been submerged in water has likely absorbed a large amount of water. Rebuilding too quickly after a flood can cause continuing problems such as mold growth, insect infestations, and deterioration of the wood and wall coverings.
Flood waters are not clean water; therefore, most porous building materials must be removed and replaced with new materials.
Returning to Your Property
- Exercise extreme caution when returning to your home or business.
- Do not enter any building unless it is structurally sound. Avoid areas that are damaged or contain dangerous debris.
- Do not enter basements or other areas with floodwater as it may contain hidden hazards or may be electrically charged.
- Floodwater is contaminated, making many items unsafe to handle or consume. Mud left from floodwater can contain sewage and chemicals.
- Inspections on electrical panels and appliances by a qualified technician will be required before utilities can be reconnected to your home or business.
- If utilities were not turned off before you evacuated, do not enter your property until it has been checked by a qualified technician.
- Before drinking tap water, check it for colour and odour. If you suspect it is contaminated, do not drink it.
Completing a Damage Assessment
- Use a camera or video camera to record any flood damage to your property.
- Do not discard any valuable papers that may have been damaged during a flood. Instead, store them in a freezer - they may be important later.
- Watch for information on Disaster Recovery Program, which is administered by the Province of Alberta.
Cleaning Your Property
Protecting your health and the safety of others is important as you clean up after a flood.
- Arrange for child care while you clean to minimize your child’s exposure to contaminated areas.
- Do not bring pets back until it is safe.
- When using electrical equipment, keep extension cords out of water.
- Furniture and other items in your home or business that have been flood damaged will have to be discarded.
- Contamination can spoil food and prescription medication. When in doubt, throw it out.
- Discard all contaminated food items, including fresh produce, packaged or boxed food and meats, damaged or leaking canned goods, and bottled foods and drinks, as floodwater can seep under
a cap or lid.
- For instructions on how to disinfect and clean your property, consult the local public health office or download the document to the right called "Cleaning after the Flood"
Reoccupying Your Home or Business
After the danger has passed, do not reoccupy your property until:
- All utilities have been restored.
- The water supply and waste water system has been inspected and is safe for use.
- If damaged by flooding, your property has been thoroughly cleaned, dried and disinfected.