The items that can be affected by flood damage are too numerous to mention. With water earning the reputation of the universal solvent, it can destroy anything and everything in its path if it is given enough time. Some of the usual victims when there is an onslaught of unwanted water in the property are furniture and floor coverings, electrical systems, and gas lines.
But the occurrence of flood damage has given the opportunity for another kind of technology to take effect. With an increased demand follows the supply of techniques to counteract the effects of water allowing the property owner to become more secure about the ability of the commercial or residential structure to withstand the effects of flooding caused by burst pipes, and other similar situations.
One example of the ways people can combat excess moisture is through waterproofing. There are commercially available sprays that can be used on fabrics that will make them less susceptible to staining. In fact, it is not just small items that can be given this particular treatment. Even bigger features of the house such as walls can be made using lime plaster, instead of the more traditional gypsum plaster, to make them less absorbent of water.
The rise of technology to alleviate the effects of flood damage certainly spells good news to property homeowners. It can undoubtedly lower the costs after flooding because not only will it prevent damage, but it also allows some of the damage already dealt to be undone. But despite this, one of the most important tenets of home emergencies such as this is to look at the situation objectively.
Let it be made clear: not all items can be salvaged, repaired, or saved after they have been exposed to water. While there are some things that can be helped, there are some, quite simply, that cannot. Part of the property owner’s responsibility is to learn how to differentiate between the two.
Under no circumstance should food that was exposed to floodwater be considered as still being useful. The reason for this is simple: it is far too risky. Keep in mind that excess water that makes its way into the home is rarely clean. In fact, it is just a question of degree as to how dirty it is. Even water that comes straight from the sinks should be looked at suspiciously.
Among the dangers that the water can carry are diseases like gastroenteritis and hepatitis – these are just the tip of the iceberg. Food poisoning does not loom far when it comes to contaminated food.
Even if the water does not actually come in contact with the food, the situation is still considered dangerous. One of the things that should be taken into consideration is that it is entirely possible for the floodwater to aerosolize and spread to items that are within the area. This means that actual contact is not necessary for the food to be dirtied by the water.
2. Baby items
Although babies and adults belong in the same species, there are vast differences between them. Babies need more care because their immune systems are weaker than their adult counterparts. They can get sick in situations that would otherwise not affect them had they been older. In addition to this, babies are also not as cautious as older people. As any parent can testify to, babies or even toddlers are curious creatures with an affinity of putting items in their mouths indiscriminately. Behavior such as this can be quite dangerous because it can lead to illnesses.
The very nature of babies is the reason why extra care is required when it comes to the objects that come in contact with them. Especially in situations of flooding, the damage done by the water can reach furniture or items that are meant for use by babies. Although there are cleaning and disinfecting techniques available, it is still best to simply throw them away.
The act of disposal of baby items may seem extreme, particularly if the things do not appear to be irreparably damaged. But, keep in mind the delicate immune systems of children and the fact that it is quite rare for an item to be completely cleaned. Soft, porous materials can still harbor germs and bacteria deep within its fibers despite repeated washings. Given these information, it is better to simply invest in new products to keep the babies happy and healthy. Not only will the cost of medication and hospital expenses be avoided, but the psychological and emotional stress of a sick child can also be sidestepped.
3. Items for the elderly
Things that are meant for the elderly should also be thrown out after they have been damaged by water. The reason for this follows the same principle as those that apply in children. Since the elderly are also likely to have weakened immune systems, they have lesser capacity when it comes to fighting off illnesses that can be brought on by the bacteria found in the floodwater. Again, it is extremely difficult to eliminate all the pathogens found in items. Especially for cleaning that was executed by ordinary households without the aid of professional equipment, it is easy for some of the disease-causing elements to escape.
It is not just the weakened immune system of the elderly which makes them prime candidates to the effects brought on by flood damage. It is also the fact that the elderly are more than likely to be afflicted with existing medical conditions that can easily be exacerbated. What this translates to is that what may be a simple infection to another person may be a complication to a pre-existing heart disease to the elderly. Given these things, it is much better to play it say and simply throw out the items that are exposed to flood damage if they are meant for people of age.
4. Sewage-Exposed Items
It is not just the purpose of the items that need to be taken into consideration when it comes to distinguishing which ones need to be thrown out. The kind of water that does the damage also needs to be taken note of. Sewage is a material that is teeming with pathogens that it is actually classified as hazardous. In fact, experts emphasize that they should not, under any circumstance, be handled by the average homeowner. What should be done in the event that the presence of sewage is discovered is to call licensed professionals to handle it.
Some of the dangers that sewage imposes on the people occupying the property are typhoid, skin irritations, and even respiratory problems. When the stakes are so high, it is better to throw out the items that tend to absorb the sewage. These include porous materials such as carpets, upholstered furniture, or clothing.
The reason for this is that liquid can easily be absorbed by fibers. No matter how intensive the cleaning techniques are used, it is extremely difficult to reach the core of these porous materials. If the water comes from cleaner sources, this is not necessarily a problem because the items will naturally dry out. However, the case of sewage is different in that even if it does dry out, the pathogens still remain. Take note that the problem with sewage is not in the moisture that it gives but rather, the germs and bacteria it carries.
There is no doubt that replacing items such as sofas and carpeting can be quite expensive. But consider these as a necessary expense in that they actually safeguard the integrity of the property and more importantly, the well-being of the people residing in it.
5. Neglected Items
If there is one thing that property owners should know about flood damage is that it works fast. Thus, there is a need to properly pace the time used to respond to it. There are some items that begin out as salvageable but then due to neglect, turn out to be beyond repair. Examples of these include carpets and rugs that have been left to soak overnight, electronic devices that are left submerged in water, and paper items such as documents and photographs exposed to humid air.
If the response to the flooding was done in a timely manner, the restoration and cleanup of these items would have been a breeze. But, failure to remove them from the affected areas and dry them out can eventually downgrade them to junk.
To prevent the occurrence of this situation and to avoid the trouble of throwing out things unnecessarily, make sure that there is a plan set in place to respond to flood damage even if the need for it is not evident. What this entails is that the contact details of the suitable flood damage professional should already be at hand even before there is a sign of danger. This saves the property owner the trouble of having to frantically look through the directory for someone to provide aid in the event of a home emergency such as this. Aside from the convenience the right kind of preparation affords, it will also give the property owner enough time to properly scrutinize the professional to ensure that the job is done properly and efficiently.