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The first thing you experience when entering a flooded home is shock. Get past this quickly, because there's a lot to do if you want to salvage your belongings! If the flooding is from an internal source, such as the washing machine, a water heater, or pipes, shut off the water to the house. Then, find your telephone directory and start calling disaster recovery companies. You must find one that is available immediately; cleanup must start within hours, not days.
The disaster assistance company will ask some preliminary questions so they'll know what to expect when they arrive, how large a crew they'll need, and which equipment to bring. What caused the flooding? Is the water clean or dirty? Is it contaminated with sewage? Is water standing in the house, or has it receded? If there is standing water, how deep is it? Do you have a basement? How many rooms are in the house? What type of flooring do you have?
Next, change into work clothes and start salvaging what you can. If you move things outside, be sure to leave a wide, clear path to the doors for the disaster assistance personnel and equipment.
When the flood cleanup crew arrives, let them take over. They're the pros and have years of experience with this type of situation. As a rule, the crew will start to work while the foreman explains the process, gets your insurance information, and asks questions. If you have wet carpet, the company will decide if it's salvageable. If the carpet is fairly new and the flood water clean and cold, it may be a candidate for cleaning and reinstallation. Otherwise, it will be removed and discarded, as will the carpet padding.
Water will be extracted from both the house and any salvageable carpet with a large vacuum, and everything will be sprayed with disinfectant to inhibit the growth of mold and bacteria. And then, just before the crew leaves, fans and/or dehumidifiers will be set up and turned on to start the drying process. The faster things dry out, the less potential there is of permanent damage.
Because the house will be damp and noisy for some time, your best bet may be to grab some clothes and check into a hotel until the "all clear" is given. This is especially true for those who have allergies, asthma, or some other breathing difficulty.
Kent Hamilton is the SEO Expert for www.rightwaycontracting.com - a leading nationwide water damage restoration company specializing in 24/7 emergency service water damage restoration, water damage repair, mold remediation, flood damage repair document drying, fire and smoke damage.