As severe flooding continues in the state of Iowa, the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association of Iowa is encouraging homeowners to use caution in the flooding situations. With areas of the state experiencing river levels that are projected to be higher than they were in 1993, many consumers are or will be experiencing flooded homes and offices.
“Many Iowa residents who are faced with flooded homes and basements are not sure of proper procedures during and after an influx of water and possibly sewage,” announced Kevin Kruse, executive director of the Iowa PHCC. “We are advising them to become educated on recommended safe measures, and to also be wary of any possible clean-up scams.”
The Iowa PHCC has made a list of tips available to residents who have water inside their home or business:
- 1. Think safety first:
- Stay out of any building that is surrounded by floodwaters. Return only when local officials determine it is safe.
- Turn off the electricity before entering the affected area.
- Use extreme caution when entering buildings; there may be hidden damage, particularly in foundations.
- If you smell gas, turn the gas off at the meter or contact your service provider.
- Be aware that flood water may contain sewage and other contaminants and protect yourself accordingly with rubber boots, gloves and goggles before attempting clean up.
- Discard any fresh or packaged food products that may have come in contact with floodwater.
- If you have a sump pump and/or back-up pump, check to make sure the hoses direct water away from the foundation of the structure.
- If possible, utilize a shopvac to reduce water levels.
- Wipe off visible mold and remove wet carpet, upholstered furniture and other porous materials immediately.
- Help the drying process by using fans, air conditioning units and dehumidifiers. Make sure that wallboards are dry to prevent mold.
- After completing the cleanup, wash your hands with antibacterial soap.
- Be wary of scam artists and unqualified workers ― deal only with local, licensed (where applicable) contractors.
- Get a written estimate and check references.
- Ask for proof of insurance.
- Get guarantees in writing.
- Make final payment when work is completed.