Floods are one of the most common and costly natural disasters in Canada. Flood damage is also a major cause of mould in homes, which can make you and your family to sick.
Mould grows in wet and damp conditions. It’s less likely to grow if your home and furnishings are dry within 48 hours after a flood. It’s important to remove standing water and any wet materials as soon as possible after a flood. This will help prevent mould, which can continue to damage your home long after the flood.
During flood cleanup, think safety first!
Flood cleanup has 2 immediate dangers: electric shock and sewage contamination.
You can avoid electric shock by always wearing rubber boots when standing in water. You should also shut off the power to the flooded area at the breaker box. Be sure to keep all extension cords out of the water, too.
If you’re not sure what to do, don’t be afraid to ask your local electricity utility for help.
If your house is flooded by sewage-contaminated water, you’ll need to take a number of special precautions.
It’s very easy to get infected by disease handling sewage-contaminated water and materials. You may even be in danger of infection just by breathing the air in an area contaminated by sewage. If you suspect sewage contamination, you should:
- contact your environmental health officer (EHO) or community health representative
- avoid exposing family members and pets to the contaminated area
- keep children, pregnant women and people with respiratory problems away from contaminated water and materials
- bag, tag and dispose of contaminated household items according to your local regulations
Once the contaminated items and standing water are removed, you’ll need to do a thorough cleaning of the entire area.
Four steps for flood cleanup
1. Prepare for the flood cleanup
2. Remove water, mud and other debris
3. Dispose of wet materials that can’t be dried within 48 hours
4. Clean and dry out your home and salvageable possessions
For more information, please contact your local CMHC office or CMHC consultant.