Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

June 01, 2012 16:21 ET

After the Flood: Quick action is Very Important

THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 1, 2012) - For homeowners, few natural events cause greater or more lasting damage than a flood. But what many of us may not know is that much of the worst damage can actually occur after the water has drained away.

If your home has been flooded, the best way to protect your property, your belongings - and the health of your family - is by getting rid of the water and drying your house as quickly as possible. Whether you do the work yourself or hire a qualified contractor, a few important precautions should always be taken before the work begins:

  • Put safety first. Avoid electrical shock by contacting your local utility or a qualified electrical contractor for information on getting your electricity shut off. Also, be aware that flood water can contain all manner of contaminants including raw sewage. If uncertain about how to safely deal with the flood water and the clean-up, contact a qualified flood remediation contractor.
  • Record the details of the damage with photos or video if possible, and contact your insurance agent and register with your municipality as soon as possible.
  • Set up a step-by-step action plan for removing all remaining water, mud and other debris, disposing of contaminated household goods, rinsing away contamination and disinfecting contaminated surfaces, and drying out your house and salvageable possessions.
  • Assemble all the equipment and supplies you'll need in advance, including gloves, masks, pails, mops, squeegees, plastic garbage bags, unscented detergent and large containers for wet bedding and clothing.
  • Store valuable papers in a sealable plastic bag in a working freezer until you can work on them.

Then, during the clean up, keep a checklist of chores close at hand to make sure the work is carried out in an order that will help minimize the damage, including:

  • Removing standing water with pumps or pails and a wet/dry shop vacuum, and removing all soaked and dirty materials and debris, including wet insulation and drywall, residual mud and soil, furniture, appliances, clothing and bedding.
  • Working from the top down, breaking out ceilings and walls that have absorbed water, removing materials at least 500 mm above the high-water line and replacing any flooring that has been deeply penetrated by flood water or sewage.
  • Hosing down and thoroughly rinsing all surfaces wetted by the flood water, and washing and wiping down with a solution of unscented detergent and water. Rinse. If the surfaces do not appear clean, repeat the washing down with detergent, scrubbing as needed, then rinse again.
  • Cleaning surfaces not directly affected by the flood water with the detergent solution and allow to dry.
  • Ventilating or dehumidifying the house until it is completely dry.

For more information or a free copy of the publication, Cleaning Up Your House After a Flood visit our website at or call CMHC at 1-800-668-2642. For over 65 years, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has been Canada's national housing agency, and a source of objective, reliable housing information.

For story ideas or to access CMHC information, contact CMHC Media Relations at: National Office: (613) 748-2799 or by sending an email to

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