The three-step clean-up
Clean taps and run them before use. Have power and gas supplies checked by a professional electrician or gas plumber before turning them back on. Throw away food (including freezer items if power has been off) that may be contaminated and restock your supplies.
Your insurer will arrange for a loss adjuster and other specialists to visit your home to access the damage. They will project manage much of the clear up, so speak to them before acting on anything.
The Food Standards Agency and Public Health England have some useful safety advise for people affected by flooding:
Remove water and mud
- The Fire and Rescue Service can pump out standing water but will charge for non-emergencies. Otherwise use a pump (from hire shop or DIY store), or use buckets followed by wet/dry vacuum.
- Shovel out mud (which may be contaminated) then hose out or use a garden sprayer.
Clean and disinfect
- Wear protective clothes, boots and rubber gloves. Floodwater maybe contaminated by silt, sewage, oil or chemicals. Try to avoid coming into contact with it.
- Use a brush, soapy water and heavy duty cleaner, then rinse.
- Floodwater maybe contaminated so disinfect all areas affected after cleaning (contaminated toys will need disinfecting). Make sure you wash your hands with disinfectant after cleaning up. Disinfecting also avoids mildew and moulds. Moulds can be a health hazard for babies, people with allergies and the elderly (they should stay away during the clean-up)
- Take furniture, bedding and clothing outside, to avoid mould.
- Use fans plus industrial heaters and dehumidifiers.
- Have the central heating on at 22 degrees or above.
- Drying out can take weeks or even months. If its done too quickly, it can cause structural damage and long term problems.
- Good ventilation is essential - keep windows and doors open on dry days and remove any air brick covers. Remember to keep the property secure when vacant.
Waste taken to local tips will be classified as controlled waste and must be handled properly. Waste management firms can be found in the telephone book or on the Buy With Confidence website. Do not throw anything away without checking with your insurer first if you are planning to claim for it - it is evidence !