Where to start? One Tewkesbury pub faces a long drying-out process
As the waters begin to recede in many areas of England following the floods, the daunting task of clearing up is looming on the horizon.
The authorities can be so busy in the early stages that assistance may not be immediately available. Where can residents and business owners start in helping themselves before the professionals arrive?
The British Damage Management Association (BDMA), which provides accreditation for recovery and restoration professionals, has provided some tips on the basics.
The advice spells out what steps can be taken without jeopardising insurance claims, but is also useful for the uninsured who still need to prepare for recovery work to be done, says the BDMA.
The first objective should be to ensure safety.
Prevent further damage by reducing the impact of any remaining water or residue, and safeguard possessions that have not been affected (see detailed advice below).
Thirdly, establish whether unaffected parts of the property are usable.
BE AWARE OF HEALTH RISKS
Even if it looks as though it is clean, flood water is often contaminated
and can cause illness.
Personal hygiene is very important - wash hands regularly and cover any scratches. Hands should also be washed before
preparing food, eating, drinking or smoking.
Mould can grow quickly in the damp conditions and attack the throat, nose
and lungs. It may be best to keep the young and the elderly, who will have
weaker immune systems, away from the flooded property until declared safe for habitation.
Get medical help immediately if any health concerns are identified.
CHECK ELECTRICITY AND GAS SUPPLIES
Get professional advice if equipment or sockets have been affected by water, and do not attempt to switch on any device that has been damaged by the floods.
An electrician may have to supply a temporary supply board.
GATHER TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
For the initial clean-up process the following is likely to be needed - brooms, scrubbing brushes, mops, buckets, detergents, disinfectant, rubber gloves, wellington boots and other protective clothing, tools such as hammers, nails and screwdrivers, strong refuse bags and shovels.
Face masks may also be needed.
REMOVE STANDING WATER AND MUD, IF POSSIBLE
If mud or debris is piled up against an internal or external wall it could affect the structure.
Only attempt to move the material if the amount is small. Once water and mud have been removed floors can be rinsed down.
REMOVE WET CARPETS AND FURNISHINGS
To reduce health risks saturated carpets, rugs and furnishings should be removed from the property and disposed of where possible.
Cut up carpets to make removal easier.
Take pictures and keep small samples of carpets and other materials as evidence of damage.
PROTECT FROM FURTHER DAMAGE
If access to a freezer is possible, important documents, photographs and books that are water damaged should be wrapped in polythene or plastic bags and frozen for restoration later.
Undamaged furniture and possessions should be moved to a higher level if possible.
Furniture that cannot be moved from water-damaged rooms should be raised off the floor on blocks.
Place plastic bags under the legs of wooden furniture to prevent further absorption of water.
KEEP A RECORD
Take pictures of the property and any damaged possessions. If your camera has been damaged try to purchase a disposable one.
Write down a description of the overall state of the property, and make a list of damaged items and their condition.
When the water has subsided mark the high water point, including the date, on each wall.
Make a note of all the actions you have taken.
DRY WITH CARE
Open windows and doors.
Do not attempt to dry the property with central heating or other heating appliances.
The combination of heat and damp can cause further damage and may encourage mould growth.
DON'T GO IT ALONE
Take advantage of the support that is available from agencies, authorities and organisations providing information and help.
Talk to neighbours and others in the same situation, and pick up tips from shared experiences.
Use professionals to deal with gas, electrical, plumbing or structural work.