Because of potential safety/hygiene issues it is important to:
- Keep children away during the clean up
- Use disinfectant when cleaning
- Wash your hands before eating,drinking or smoking
- Disinfect any cuts quickly and cover with a waterproof dressing
- Bury any faecal matter quickly.
Flood waters can be dangerous and may be contaminated, so always wear protective equipment for all tasks:
- Sturdy boots, long pants and long sleeves, eye protection and gloves-and wear a hat, sunscreen and insect repellent when necessary.
- Watch out for potential dangers such as snakes, spiders and other animals. If wildlife has taken shelter in your sheds or home, contact your local council or wildlife rescue to arrange for their care.
- If power lines have fallen, move away slowly and calmly and contact the energy authorities. Be careful around trees, as branches may have become loose and can fall without warning.
- If you have to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician first for advice.
- All electrical equipment (including vacuum cleaners, washers, fridges and dryers) should be dried and checked by an electrician before being used again.
Warning: If the house is badly damaged and looks unsafe, e.g. roof damage, cracks in walls etc., stay out until a building inspector or engineer has checked it. Take care at all times, as damage can be hidden. If in doubt,do not enter.
- Use a torch to inspect walls, ceilings and floors. Sagging floors may indicate damage to foundations, and sagging ceilings may indicate water in the roof, so leave the building immediately.
- Check for gas or water leaks. If there are any strange odours or you can smell gas or hear hissing sounds, leave the house immediately.
- Do not use electricity, gas or water until you are advised by your provider to do so.
- If you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell burning insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker.
Repairing the damage
Depending on the level of damage, you will want to return to normal routines as soon as possible. There are some important things to do first.
Record the damage
Take pictures of the damage, inform your insurer and request an insurance assessment of the damage.
Secure your property
If your house is uninhabitable, arrange to have it secured. Advise your power, phone, water and gas companies and your bank, and arrange with Australia Post to have your mail diverted or held.
Minor damage such as broken windows or roof damage can be easily repaired. Contact a glazier for window repairs and a licensed plumber for roofing repairs.
Always get three written quotes where possible for insurance purposes.
Before engaging anyone, always contact your insurer to find out what you need to do to request an assessment.
Only use tradespeople who are licensed or registered and members of their professional associations. They have to maintain a level of standards to keep their licence or registration and agree to adhere to a code of conduct.
If you have any concerns about the conduct of tradespeople, contact the consumer affairs department in your state/territory for advice.