How to Respond to Flooding, Excess Water, and Sewer Backups

The floods that plagued Boulder County in September of 2013 proved that disaster can strike without warning. This 1,000-year rain event wreaked havoc on the region, taking meteorologists, emergency responders, and property owners completely by surprise.

While a storm of this magnitude is unlikely to strike the region in the immediate future, water damages can occur from a variety of sources that can be just as abrupt and unforeseen as the floods of 2013. Pool members and homeowners in Colorado should be as prepared as possible to quickly and effectively respond to water damage before it has the chance to do its worst to your buildings and belongings.

No matter whether it’s from a burst pipe, a leaking water heater or a flood, there are actions you can take to immediately minimize the damage or loss. These tips will help keep you and your belongings safe should you experience significant flooding or water damage.

Stop the Leak at its Source: The very first step in the process should be to make sure that the source of the water has been neutralized. If the water is coming from an internal source like a burst pipe or malfunctioning appliance, shut off the main water valve as soon as possible.

Perform a Safety Check: Before starting any cleanup process, you should first conduct a thorough safety check. Always ensure that the structure is safe before entering any area that has been affected by water. Is there anything that has been visibly damaged that presents a safety hazard? Has the electricity in the flooded area been turned off? Turning off the power or natural gas might be necessary to ensure the safety of yourself, your coworkers, or your family. If you’re only experiencing a minor leak or drip, it’s probably not necessary to shut off utilities.
Document the Damages: Once inside, take photos of any visible damage for documentation.

Lift With Caution: Wet materials and items are extremely heavy when saturated with water, so be sure to lift cautiously and with proper technique to avoid injury, and never attempt to move something yourself if it’s too heavy.

Use Extreme Caution with Electricity: If your carpet or flooring is still wet, do not turn on or attempt to use any electronic devices or electric appliances. Using wet vacuums like Shop Vacs can be quite useful in removing excess water, but you should always consult with your user’s manuals before attempting to use any vacuum to clean up after a leak or flood.

Disinfecting is Key: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) advises property owners to disinfect flooded areas within 24 hours, as mold can quickly develop. FEMA suggests wiping down every affected surface using a ten percent bleach solution, which can be prepared by combining 1½ cups of bleach for every gallon of water used to disinfect. There are also commercially available mold and mildew removers at home improvement stores that are often more environmentally friendly than using bleach.

Use Personal Protective Equipment: No matter what you’re using to disinfect, we recommend wearing rubber boots, gloves, and goggles during the cleanup. You may also consider wearing a respirator to prevent inhaling any airborne contaminants.

Call in the Professionals: Any Pool member that participates in our No-Fault Water & Sewer Backup coverage will be able to provide cleanup service to their constituents through our new partnership with SERVPRO. If one of your customers experiences a backup, they now have access to 24/7 emergency cleanup response from an industry-leading network of professionals prepared to do the dirty work.

SERVPRO will respond without delay and use advanced equipment and techniques to remove the water quickly. They closely monitor and document the drying process to verify your customer’s property is dried properly and thoroughly. Pool members, and their constituents, are eligible to receive special pricing and priority service.

The owner of this website has made a commitment to accessibility and inclusion, please report any problems that you encounter using the contact form on this website. This site uses the WP ADA Compliance Check plugin to enhance accessibility.