Flooding can cause extensive water damage, and can open the door for mold and mildew, both of which can have serious effects on your health (especially for those with allergies and respiratory conditions). Thankfully, there are several steps that you can take to reduce the overall impact that a flood has on your home and health.
Disconnect the Power
The first thing that you should do in the event of flooding in your home is disconnect the power to the area in question. This is because any live wires that come into contact with the water can pose a serious hazard and can electrocute anyone who comes into contact with the entire body of water. To do this, go to the breaker box and turn off the breakers that power the electronics in the flooded area.
Call the Insurance Company
Once you've turned the electricity off, you should get into contact with your insurance company if you have flood or homeowner's insurance. They may be able to reimburse you for damaged or ruined objects, and may even be able to get professionals to come in and help with the cleanup, depending on your policy.
If your insurance policy doesn't cover paying for professional water damage abatement, you should begin cleaning up yourself. The first step is to remove large items from the flood area, especially soft and absorbent items which can hold onto moisture for an extended period of time, like couches and armchairs. Assess the amount of water damage that each item has endured: small amounts of water damage can be cleaned or repaired, whereas items that are completely soaked through should be thrown away. Either way, take these items outside: if they dry off in your home, you may be left with the lingering smell of mildew.
Drain the Area
The next step is to remove the water that has flooded your home. You can do this with buckets, water pumps and shop vacuums, available at most hardware stores, but you should also take steps to reduce the overall amount of humidity in the area through the use of dehumidifiers, fans and open windows to aid in the drying process.
Once the area has been removed of the majority of the water, you should wipe down the walls, floor and any other surfaces that came into contact with the water with disinfectant wipes and materials. This will prevent the growth of mold, and will kill any lingering bacteria that may remain even after all the water has been removed and the furniture replaced.