Step By Step Flood Cleanup

A messy, wet house after a flood is overwhelming. Not only have you lost your possessions, but your entire home structure is also still vulnerable to damage. Where can you start to get back into the home in order to lean it? FEMA and Total Restoration of Indianapolis offer some great tips to help you get back into your flooded building.

Stay Safe

Before you enter your home, anticipate what you will need for safety, security, and efficiency. You might need a supply run to the home improvement or superstore for some things:

  • Personal protective equipment- rubber boots, gloves, respirator
  • Tools for entry- your keys or worse, a crowbar or hammer to break a window
  • Tools for cleaning
  • Camera or video camera for recording damage for the insurance company
  • Cleaning supplies for saving and sterilizing belongings
  • First aid kit
  • Supplies for marking and organizing- permanent markers, tape, zip-top bags of all sizes, zip ties, bungee cords, plastic buckets with lids

Check for safety before you enter. Turn off the electricity to avoid electrical shock and watch out for submerged dangers. Confirm there are no gas leaks or chemical spills. Lastly, be on the lookout for pests like rodents, ants, snakes.

As you enter, document the losses: take photos of every room, use multiple angles, save samples of damaged materials. With your limited time before mold grows, focus on high value, solid surface items. Then separate the non-porous items that can be disinfected i.e. glass, ceramic, and metal into an area for later cleaning.

Have A Plan

In The ABC’s of Returning to Flooded Buildings, FEMA suggests a clear workflow. See FEMA.gov for more safety advice.

Air out– Immediately after the wet space is declared safe, get some fresh air moving throughout the home. To promote drying, open all windows, closets and interior doors. Prop them open so the breeze won’t defeat your purpose. Maximize by encouraging cross ventilation; focus on getting any moving air to flow by opening windows on opposite sides of the room and create a draft by opening windows on the top floor, as well. Then open up the kitchen cabinets, and the pantry door; remove drawers and stack them ‘crisscrossed’ for maximum ventilation.

When electricity is available, use fans but only if the area is free from sewage contamination. You don’t want to spread even more problems!

Move out– Remove the big, salvageable pieces of furniture and appliances to a clean, dry area (perhaps your driveway.). Use drop cloths to avoid contaminating the drying area. Don’t delay- get those big upholstered pieces and mattresses out of the house, as well. If they have been contaminated with sewage, there is no hope of salvaging AND a huge risk of creating some terrible smells and growing some dangerous mold.

Tear out– Remove wet carpet and padding. Be safe as you remove the tack strips at this point. If the drywall has been wet for more than 24 hours, you will need to remove it to avoid mold. Contact a water restoration specialist to determine if you can remove JUST the waterlogged bottom or the entire sheet. Drywall comes in 4-foot lengths, so don’t miss an opportunity to save time and money here.

Also, tear out flooded electrical receptacles; they represent a future fire hazard.

Clean out– After any necessary removal of materials, you need to clean and disinfect the internal structure. One option is a power washer with a cleaning/disinfecting solution. Again, the experts at Total Restoration have the expertise, equipment, and manpower to get the space clean before mold can set in.

Dry out– In this situation, ‘dry’ is a relative term. The wet space needs to have less than 15% residual moisture before you can begin to rebuild. Using industrial fans, dehumidifiers and air scrubbers add a layer of science and efficiency over just waiting for some sunny days. Cabinets and interior closets are especially difficult to get dry; they have little ventilation and less sunshine.

Flood Damage Cleanup In Indianapolis

All of the water technicians at Total Restoration are certified in water (restoration) removal by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC). As soon as you call, they will immediately and thoroughly extract the water with a plan to limit additional destruction. Then, the drying process is regularly monitored by our trained staff until the job is complete.