Before you enter a flooded basement, take time to:
Turn off the electricity, preferably at the meter;
2) Check outside cellar walls for possible cave-ins, evidence of structural damage or other hazards;
3) Turn off gas or fuel service valves; and
4) Open doors and windows or use blowers to force fresh air into the basement.
For safety reasons, do not use an electric pump powered by your own electrical system. Instead, use a gas-powered pump or one connected to an outside line. Fire departments in some communities may help with pumping services.
More damage may be done by pumping flooded basements too soon or too quickly. Water in the basement helps brace the walls against the extra pressure of water-logged soil outside. If water is pumped out too soon, walls may be pushed in or floors pushed up. To help prevent this kind of structural damage:
After water has been pumped from the basement, shovel out the mud and debris while it is still moist. Hose down walls to remove as much silt as possible before it dries. Floors and walls may need sanitizing, particularly if sewage has entered the basement. Scrub walls and floors with a disinfecting solution of 1 cup chlorine bleach per gallon of water.
Oil stains caused by overturned or damaged oil tanks also may be a problem following basement flooding. Commercial products, available from fuel-oil suppliers, will help neutralize fuel oil. The products come in powder form or an aerosol spray for hard-to-reach places. To remove oil stains and destroy odor: wipe up excess oil, shake or spray product on the spot according to manufacturer's directions, let it set, then sweep it up.INSPECTION AND REPAIR
Before beginning repairs, make a thorough inspection of supporting columns, beams, walls and floors. Unless you have structural expertise, hire a contractor to make a professional survey. (Consider joining with neighbors for a group-rate inspection.) Repairs may extend to the following:
Your county family living agent, your local emergency government office, the American Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency
"Repairing Your Flooded Home," the American Red Cross/Federal Emergency
Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder. More