Homeowner Emergency Do's & Don'ts

Being a homeowner comes with its many challenges. You have to protect your home against natural disasters, fires, water damage, mold, and more. If and when something does happen to your home, you have to be prepared in order to make sure your family and home is safe. However, after a disaster does strike, most people don't know what to do to get back on their feet. Read the tips below to know what you should and shouldn’t do AFTER a home emergency.

 

Water Damage

DO
1. Turn the water off if a pipe broke or is leaking. Immediately call a plumber so they can repair the pipe.
2. Use caution. If your home sustained extensive water damage and is flooded, turn off the electricity and watch out for loose electrical wires. Watch where you’re stepping and be careful not to slip and fall.
3. Remove water. If you can, remove as much water as possible from your home. If your furniture got wet, place it outside to dry in the sun or open up some windows to speed up the drying process. If it is safe to do so, turn on your A/C to cool to help dry.

DO NOT
1. Do NOT use a vacuum cleaner to pick up the water. Only use a wet vacuum cleaner that is designed to pick up water.
2. Do NOT use electrical appliances. Using electrical appliances while standing on water can be lethal. Always make sure the power is off to the entire house before stepping in the water if you have to. 
3. Do NOT touch outlets or plugs. This is something you should definitely avoid if you still have the electricity on. Even if the water damage is not “too bad,” you should still avoid this as a safety precaution.
4. Do NOT turn on the heat. It may seem smart to turn on the heat to help dry your items faster, but mold loves warm and wet environments, so this is something you should avoid preventing mold.

Fire Damage

DO

1. Use caution. Watch out for any tripping hazards after a fire and any electrical wires that may be exposed. If there is extensive damage to a room and you MUST go inside, wear a hardhat just in case anything falls on you.

2. Limit your exposure. Be sure to wear gloves, dust mask, and eye protection if you are cleaning up after a fire. However, do NOT handle the debris without the help of a trained professional.

3. Shut off ventilation systems. Turn off your A/C or heating system after a fire and get it inspected in case there are any toxins in the vent system from the fire.

DO NOT
1. Do NOT clean or repaint walls. You want to clean up after a fire and get your home looking like a home. However, you need to get your walls professionally cleaned to prevent soot and smoke from setting in permanently.
2. Do NOT repair or clean electrical appliances. If the fire started in your kitchen and your microwave and fridge burned, you would think everything is fine and you can just clean them, right? Wrong. You need to get these checked by a trained professional to make sure there is not extensive damage like faulty wires that may be dangerous.

Mold Damage

DO
1. Fix Water Problems. If your home has extensive water problems/damage, you need to get those fixed ASAP to avoid mold.
2. Limit your exposure. Be sure to wear gloves, mask, and eye protection when cleaning mold to avoid/limit potential health risks.
3. Once the water problems are fixed, use a detergent and water solution to clean small areas at a time. Throw away what you used to clean up to avoid spreading the mold spores.
4. Make sure you dry the area you cleaned completely with COOL air. Remember, hot air and a wet area is the perfect place for mold to grow, so avoid this by drying it with cool air.

DO NOT
1. Don’t ignore it. If you spot a small amount of mold in your house, do not ignore it. There is a deeper issue behind the mold that needs to be fixed so it does not pose a bigger threat. Mold is also a health hazard, so ignoring it and letting it get worse is not something you should do.
2. Don’t use bleach. Bleach can only kill live mold, not mold spores. Treating mold with bleach and water can actually promote more mold growth. If you can, get mold professionally cleaned so it doesn’t get out of hand.
3. Don’t dry until cleaned. When you spot mold in your house, do not dry it before you clean it as this can actually spread the mold spores to other areas of your home and cause a larger problem.

Owning a home comes with its challenges. You can’t control when a natural disaster strikes, but you can control what goes on inside your home. Keeping an eye on your home is always key to avoiding a disaster. Check the pipes in your home to prevent leaks, check for mold, and check for fire hazards.
 
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