If you are unfortunate enough to be flooded, here are a few pointers for when you first get home
Your insurer will arrange for a loss adjuster and other specialists to visit your home to assess the damage. They will project-manage much of the clean up, so speak to them before acting on anything. Find out what they are going to do – take photographs of contents and any water damage – the more the better. Remember it may take up to 12 months before the repairs are completed.
If you have to clean & disinfect:
Wear protective clothes, boots and rubber gloves.
Use a brush, soapy water and heavy duty cleaner, then rinse.
Floodwater may be contaminated so disinfect all areas affected after cleaning.
Make sure you wash your hands with antiseptic after cleaning up.
Disinfecting also kills most mildew and mould.
Don’t fully re-occupy your property until after the following:
It is safe to do so – the emergency services / local authority will advise.
All standing water has been removed particularly from the underfloor area.
The Fire & Rescue Service can pump out standing water but will charge for non- emergencies. Otherwise use a pump (from hire or DIY shop), or use buckets followed by wet/dry vacuum.
Shovel out mud (which may be contaminated) then hose out or use a garden sprayer.
Remove flood damaged carpets but keep a one-meter square sample for your insurance company. They will want to see this as part of your claim. (photograph everything)
If paying for help, keep receipts for any emergency pumping or repair work done. Take meter readings of gas or electricity.
Keep photographic records of ALL flood damage.
Good ventilation is essential – keep windows and doors open on dry days and remove air brick covers – maintain security.
Use fans plus industrial heaters and dehumidifiers. These will be provided by your insurance company if you are insured. When using dehumidifiers close all windows to ensure drying properly occurs.
If it’s safe, have your central heating on at about 20°C – 25°C.
Drying out can take several weeks or even months.
The Scottish Flood Forum is both qualified and able to provide independent advice on the drying out of property.
Insurance – contact your company’s (24 hour) emergency helpline as soon as you can. If paying for help, keep receipts for any emergency pumping or repair work done. Take meter readings of gas or electricity. Keep photographic records of ALL flood damage.
Your G.P. regarding issues of stress, anxiety and other health issues.
Health & safety advice
Floodwater may be contaminated by silt, sewage, oil or chemicals. Try to avoid coming into contact with it.
Wear protective clothing and wash your hands after any contact.
Don’t use damp electrical items – get them checked by a professional.
Seek medical advice if diarrhoea, fever or abdominal pain affects anyone.
Mould can be a health hazard for babies, people with allergies and the elderly (they should stay away during the clean-up).
Beware of fumes from petrol or diesel generators or gas heaters – they can kill. Do not use indoors. Electric pumps should only run through a circuit breaker.
If your garden floods
Don’t let children or pets onto affected grass or paved areas until cleaned.
Remove any toilet waste from affected areas by shovelling it into black bags, and sealing them. After the grass has grown and been cut once there should be no further risk as sunlight and soil will usually destroy harmful bacteria within a few weeks.
If you have children
Don’t let them play in floodwater – they risk infections and drowning.
Contaminated toys will need disinfecting.
Drinking water advice
Follow the advice of your local water company, Scottish Water, regarding the safety of the water supply. If in doubt, boil all water intended for drinking, brushing teeth, washing food and cooking.
Please use bottled water
Take precautions for formula-fed infants. The preferred option for babies is to use bowser water brought to a ‘rolling boil’ and cooled or use bottled water.