IBHS Offers Post-Flood Safety and Recovery Tips
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IBHS Offers Post-Flood Safety and Recovery Tips

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Tampa, Fla. (July 27, 2010) – The Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) offers residents and small business owners the following guidance on returning to flood-damaged properties.

After a Flood in a Residential Property:

1. Use caution when entering a damaged building. If your property has sustained serious structural damage or if there are any doubts about its safety, contact local building officials to determine the status of your house before entering.

2. Report downed power lines or gas leaks to the utility company. If you smell gas and can safely shut off the gas do so immediately.

3. Keep electricity off if the house has been flooded. Never turn electricity on or off while standing in water. Rely on professionals to restore your utilities.

4. Take reasonable steps to protect your property from further damage by boarding up broken windows and salvaging undamaged items. Disconnect all electronics and electrical equipment and move it to a dry location as soon as it is safe to do so.

5. Begin to remove water-damaged materials immediately.

6. Remove as much standing water as possible from inside the building.

7. Ventilate with fans and/or dehumidifiers.

8. Clean any framing or surfaces exposed to standing water or areas showing mold growth with a disinfectant cleaner.

9. Acting quickly can increase the chance of salvaging usable materials, reduce the amount of rust, rot and mold that might develop, and limit the likelihood of structural problems.

10. Replace any damaged wall board or finishes with materials that will not be damaged in a future flood.

You Can Go Home Again offers more tips on returning home after a flood.

After a Flood in a Commercial Property:

1. Use caution when entering a damaged building. If the property has sustained serious structural damage or if there are any doubts about its safety have it inspected before you or your employees enter.

a. If you own the building your business occupies, contact local building officials or have it inspected by structural engineers and contractors to determine its safety and the extent of the damage.

b. If you do not own the building, work with the owner to have the building inspected. Whether or not you own the property, you are responsible for the safety of employees, customers and anyone else on the premises.

2. If the building is not usable, you will need to find an alternative location to conduct business.

3. Report downed power lines or gas leaks to the utility company. If you smell gas and can safely shut off the gas do so immediately.

4. Keep electricity off if the house has been flooded. Never turn electricity on or off while standing in water. Rely on professionals to restore your utilities.

5. Take reasonable steps to protect your property from further damage by boarding up broken windows and salvaging undamaged items. Disconnect all electronics and electrical equipment and move it to a dry location as soon as it is safe to do so.

6. Begin to remove water-damaged materials immediately.

7. Remove as much standing water as possible from inside the building.

8. Ventilate with fans and/or dehumidifiers.

9. Clean any framing or surfaces exposed to standing water or areas showing mold growth with a disinfectant cleaner.

10. Acting quickly can increase the chance of salvaging usable materials, reduce the amount of rust, rot and mold that might develop, and limit the likelihood of structural problems.

11. Replace any damaged wall board or finishes with materials that will not be damaged in a future flood.

12. Once the building has been cleaned up, make sure that all utilities and safety systems, such as fire alarms and sprinkler systems, are operational before you move employees back into the building.

Getting Back to Business offers more tips for small business owners on working with insurance representatives to get back to business as safely and quickly as possible.

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About the IBHS

IBHS is an independent, nonprofit, scientific and educational organization supported by the property insurance industry. The organization works to reduce the social and economic effects of natural disasters and other risks to residential and commercial property by conducting research and advocating improved construction, maintenance and preparation practices.

Contact:
Joseph King (813) 675-1045
jking (at) ibhs (dot) org
Twitter: disastersafety

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