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BUILDING DAMAGE ASSESSMENT & REPAIR
Disinfecting Buildings with Bleach
DRINKING WATER - EMERGENCY SOURCES
FREEZE-PROOF A BUILDING
MOBILE HOMES, DOUBLEWIDES, TRAILERS
MOLD ACTION GUIDE - WHAT TO DO ABOUT MOLD
SAFETY for BUILDING INSPECTORS
SAFETY for ELECTRICAL INSPECTORS
SAFETY for FLOOD DAMAGE ELECTRICAL INSPECTORS
SAFETY for SEPTIC INSPECTORS
SEPTIC BACKUP REPAIR
SEPTIC SYSTEM FLOOD DAMAGE
SEWAGE BACKUP, WHAT TO DO
How & when to enter a building damaged by a disaster: this article describes when & how to safely enter a flood-damaged building after it has been flooded. We discuss when to stay out, when you can enter, and safety considerations on entry of flooded buildings. In the next article our Flood Response Checklist lists key actions you should take after building flooding to minimize mold damage, and includes some safety warnings.
Our photograph shows a flooded home in Jasper, TX. If your building has been flooded, this website provides an easy to understand guide for flood damage assessment, setting priorities of action, safety, and we provide special information about avoiding or minimizing mold damage. Adapted and expanded from Repairing your Flooded Home, American Red Cross & FEMA & from additional expert sources. NOTICE: neither the ARC nor FEMA have yet approved the additions & expansions we have made to the original document. .
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Building Entry Safety Procedures in a Disaster: Procedures for Entering a Safe, Disaster-Damaged Building following an Earthquake, Fire, Flood, Hurricane, Windstorm, or other Disaster
Hazards in and around flooded & other damaged buildings include risk of structural collapse, risk of septic system collapse, trip and fall injury hazards, electrical shock hazards, fire and explosion hazards where natural gas or bottled gas are present, toxic sludge and materials containing waterborne bacteria, such as the E. coli and Enterococci bacteria, toxic mold growth indoors.
Also see after-flood "anti-mold" procedures that do not work or are unsafe - to help you avoid unnecessary expense in dealing with mold after a building flood. If your building is already moldy or if you suspect mold related illness in your building, we link to a step by step Mold Action Guide dealing with toxic or allergenic indoor mold and other indoor contaminants: when and how to inspect or test for mold, when to hire an expert, how to clean up a moldy area, when and how to perform post-remediation mold testing. If your septic system has been flooded we link to an article outlining what to do about that system as well. Extensive, technically detailed in-depth articles on other mold detection, testing, and prevention methods are organized at our Mold Information Center.
When entering buildings, use extreme caution. Building damage may have occurred where you least expect it. Watch carefully every step you take.
Safety Procedures When Planning to or Actually Entering a Building Damaged by Flooding, Fire, Earthquake, Other Disaster
Flooded crawl spaces may be contaminated with sewage bacteria, mold, rodents, or chemicals.
Flooded crawl spaces may be in danger from collapse of the structure overhead.
There may be a danger of electrocution in crawl spaces, especially wet ones, if electrical power remains on.
Crawl spaces may be particularly dangerous for a variety of reasons such as the presence of sewage, mold, asbestos, rodents, snakes, chemicals, pesticides, or structural collapse hazards. See CRAWL SPACE SAFETY ADVICE.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about safe building entry procedures after a flood
Questions & answers or comments about procedures for entering a flood-damaged or similarly hurricane, storm, or fire-damaged building safely.
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Technical Reviewers & References
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