A basement suffers a lot of physical damage after a flood. The structural damage to floors and walls just might be the least of your worries. Water from the sewer system brings with it unsafe bacteria capable of creating serious health hazards. As such, knowing how to react in the aftermath of a basement flood disaster could preserve you and your family's safety.
Take Immediate Action
Do not assume you have a lot of time to deal with the situation. Within 24 to 36 hours, the pathogens from mold and bacteria are going to spread through the air and into the home. Just because you do not plan to go into the basement or you notice the flooded water has disappeared, avoid assuming there is no trouble. Particles can remain in the air and end up drifting into the upper levels of the home. As a rule, call a water damage cleanup team like Servicemaster of Buncombe County to take care of the situation the minute the flood is discovered.
Open Windows Safely
Airing out a home to eliminate unwanted mold spores or bacteria microbes is not a bad idea. Better ventilation is always going to cut down on the spread of germs. Opening windows in the basement is not a bad idea provided you can do so safely. Unless you are wearing a protective uniform, do not wade through flooded sewer water. Even if the water is gone, wearing gloves, boots, and a face mask is advisable.
And do not just open the windows in the basement. Open the windows in the first and second floor. This way, germs present in the air do not remain trapped in any livable areas. Unfortunately, opening the door to the basement is going to present a path for those particles to reach into the upper levels. This leads to another point. Issues with the door do have to be addressed as well.
Reduce "Particle Travel" Through the Door
Partially insulating a basement door may be fairly easy by taking the following actions:
- Stuff newspaper in the top, bottom, and side partitions of the door.
- Put a towel at the bottom of the door over the newspaper.
- Use tacks or staples to affix one or more large plastic trash bags as a door covering.
Tainted air is going to have a hard time traveling through the basement door once these steps are completed. Consider it a helpful, minor fix until a professional cleanup team arrives.