Basement Flooded? Follow these four safety steps.

Mailbox in Flood WatersStep #1: Stay SAFE!

Don’t risk serious injury if your basement floods. A flooded basement can be a serious health and safety risk. If your basement floods, follow these rules to make sure your family stays safe.

  •  Avoid venturing down into the basement if possible. In a severe basement flooding situation (water covering the basement floor to a depth of an inch or more), it’s best to stay out of the basement until the water is pumped out. Standing water in your basement can contain harmful bacteria.
  • Never touch electrical wiring or fixtures. If you must venture down into a flooded basement, wear waterproof rubber boots. Avoid touching or using electrical devices (except for a battery-powered flashlight) because this puts you at risk of electrical shock or electrocution.
  • Have standing water pumped out as soon as possible.


Step #2: Determine the cause of your flooded basement.

Sometimes the source of unwanted water is obvious –as with a burst water line or sewer backup. In other cases, water may be leaking into your basement for different reasons. If it is not obvious what caused your flooding, contact a licensed professional for an inspection.

Step #3. Remove water-damaged items and begin cleanup.

Are there wood-framed walls finished with drywall in your basement? If so, the lower section of these walls is likely to retain moisture and attract mold –even without a major basement flood. Take precautions for safety, but begin clean up as soon as possible. Eliminate the source of the flooding first, then clean up and toss out anything that is contaminated, using bleach and similar household cleaners. Bleach is the best cleaning product to kill mold, mildew and bacteria.

Step #4. Mitigate future flooding.

There are a number of ways you can mitigate future flooding loss by installing preventive equipment and valves, raising the height of critical utilities and appliances off the floor or out of your basement entirely, and simply keeping gutters clean. Make sure the ground around your home slopes away from your foundation. Raising the electrical outlets in your basement can also alleviate electrical shorts and injury due to shock. Acquire flood insurance.

For more information, download this helpful check list and information sheet: Basement Flooding – Safety and Clean-up Checklist

Is there still wicked weather raging over your house? Learn what to do before, during and after a flood. Download the Flood Safety Checklist, check out the Red Cross Flood App (available for iOS and Android) or visit the American Red Cross Flood Safety page.

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