As a homeowner, enduring any natural disaster can be a terrifying experience. But after the winds have died down and the weather returns to normal again, there’s another challenge you have to face: getting your home repaired and back to normal.
However, storm cleanup efforts involve dealing with significant health risks such as water contamination, waterborne diseases, and microbial growth which may expose you and your loved ones to storm damage hazards.
Once you get the go signal to return to your home, it’s always good to be cautious about the following health and storm damage hazards. Doing so helps keep yourself and your loved ones out of harm’s way and, ultimately, lets you kickstart the water damage restoration process safely.
After a hurricane or severe storm, your home may be submerged in floodwater. But before attempting to extract standing water or clean up the affected area, remember that floodwater is typically contaminated by sewage and harmful chemicals. Sometimes, it may even carry diseases like cholera and E. coli, as well as sharp objects like shards of glass and metal.
Aside from this, it’s also crucial to be wary of your drinking water. Heavy rainstorms can uproot trees and consequently damage water lines, allowing sewage spills to contaminate them in no time.
Mold and Microbial Growth
Mold is among the most serious health hazard any homeowner should be mindful of. This is because it can start growing within 72 hours after the water has entered your home and only stops until contained and removed correctly.
On top of this, mold exposure can cause various adverse health effects, especially for those with preexisting respiratory conditions, weakened immune systems, and other health concerns. Vulnerable individuals may experience allergic reactions, difficulty breathing, headache, and fatigue, among other symptoms.
Delaying mold cleanup can put yourself and your loved ones at risk, so it’s best to enlist professional mold inspection and remediation services as soon as possible. Experts know to follow a proven drying and dehumidification process to address the moisture problem at its root cause and remove mold from your home.
Storm-Related Flood Damage
Flood damage after a storm can also pose serious safety risks to your home. Flash floods can overwhelm even the sturdiest structures, while storm surges can erode roads and damage buildings in their path.
It’s also important to be aware of the aftermath of debris flows. This fast-moving landslide carries heavy mud, boulders, and plant material and often strikes without warning. It can destroy homes, sweep away vehicles, and knock down trees.
Winter Storm Damage
Winter storms affect many parts of the U.S. annually, while states with no snow endure ice storms and freezing rain. But whether you’re dealing with a blizzard, snow squall, or lake effect storm, the extreme weather can cause roof and structural damage to your home.
Temperatures below freezing point also create ice dams that trap water in your roof and give rise to leaks and structural damage. If left unaddressed, this creates excess moisture and humidity, making it easier for mold spores to grow and spread.
After lightning strikes a home during a storm, electricity usually passes through the wirings in the building. This consequently damages any electrical device plugged into an outlet, whether a phone, computer, or kitchen appliance. Even with lightning rods installed and working properly, electrical wiring, cable or telephone lines, antennas, and steel frameworks may also be affected.
Electrical Safety Hazards
Severe storms can also down power lines and cause different kinds of electrical safety hazards in your home. But what’s more crucial to note is that many of these threats remain, even after the storm has passed.
To keep yourself and your loved ones safe, it’s best to remain careful around struck-down power lines and report the fact to your utility company as soon as possible. Staying away from any body of water, including puddles and pools, is also a practical way to avoid the risks of electric shock. Finally, if you see frayed or damaged insulation on wires or smell something burning, turn off your home’s electricity immediately.
When flood waters uproot trees, they can also expose your underground utility lines in the process, increasing the risks of damaged natural gas lines and leaks. There’s also the possibility of water causing your natural gas meter to leak or malfunction. Ultimately, flood water entering your home can do a number on both your natural gas and electrical appliances.
If your natural gas meter has been submerged or partially submerged, you may need to work with a professional to have it removed and replaced. Natural gas appliances affected by a flood will also have to be inspected and restored by a licensed expert.
Finally, if you suspect a gas leak or notice a strange odor from your storm-damaged home, turn off the main gas valve, open your windows, and vacate the premises immediately. It’s best to leave the gas leak detection and repair to the professionals.
Recover Your Home After a Storm the Safely and Painlessly
After a disaster strikes your property, coming to terms with the damage and dealing with the emotional stress should be your priority. Fixing all the damages your home sustained and making it livable again can expose you to potentially life-threatening storm damage hazards, especially if you don’t have the skills and tools to handle the job properly.
With that said, know that there’s no need for you to get your home back in order on your own. Restoration professionals accredited by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification or IICRC can help you get back up after a storm in the safest and most effective way.
If you are dealing with the aftermath of a storm or hurricane and don’t know what to do next, don’t hesitate to contact our team at Restoration 1. We have IICRC-certified storm recovery professionals standing ready 24/7 to get your property back to the way it was. Let us do the heavy lifting for you — call us today to get expert help!