Flood waters are anything but clean and clear. In fact, they are typically a toxic brew of potentially harmful bacterial and chemicals. So if your vacation rental home has recently been the victim of a flood, you may want to seriously consider whether you are up to the task of ridding your home of flood waters and the debris that they may have left behind, or if you might be better off hiring a professional service.
What's in that Witch's Brew?
The flood waters that have struck your vacation rental home may have started in a nearby river or as clean rain pouring from the sky, but by the time they hit your home, they have probably become swollen with:
- Sewage. As sewage systems and septic fields become overwhelmed, the raw fecal matter and urine they contain can enter the flood waters.
- Agricultural runoff. If there are any farms in your area, their waste can also get swept up in the flood waters. Unfortunately, animal feces can contain very serious pathogens, including E. coli. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, there are more than 40 diseases that humans can catch through contact with animal manure.
- Chemicals. If the flood waters passed through any industrial sites, they may have also picked up dangerous chemicals.
The water may also contain the remains of many dead animals and, possibly, humans. In addition, these waters may have also swept potentially deadly creatures into your home, such as water moccasins or, in some areas, alligators.
Reaching Your Vacation Rental
There is a good chance that if you don't live close to your vacation rental home, you may not be able to reach it for days, even weeks after a flood. Roads and bridges in the area may have been washed away, and you may be barred from entering the area until local officials deem that it is safe to do so.
If you can't reach your vacation rental, it's imperative to contact a water removal service in the town where your vacation rental is located, since mold and mildew can begin growing in a wet structure within 48 to 72 hours, which can become a major issue later on.
The Big Clean Up
Ridding your house of the toxic water and cleaning up debris after a flood is not for the fainthearted. Nor is it for someone who is not committed to doing a thorough job. If you decide to tackle the mess on your own, understand that:
- Avoid electrocution risks. Standing water and electrical appliances, such as heaters or furnaces, are a dangerous combination, so call the power company or an electrician to have your electricity disconnected. Not doing so could be deadly.
- Wear gloves and protective clothing. The slime and grime you will encounter is full of potentially dangerous pathogens.
- Protect any wounds or abrasions on your body with a waterproof bandage. These can become infected if they come in contact with the bacterial-filled waters.
Hiring a Professional
If the thought of removing human and animal fecal matter from your home makes you queasy, then you will probably be better off hiring professionals to remove the water and clean up your abode. It's also important to remember that your HVAC system is probably not going to be in working order after the flood, so it's likely you will be laboring in sweltering or freezing conditions.
Recovering after a flood can take a lot of time and patience. Clean the mold before it gets out of hand; contact local water removal companies and they can help you take the proper and health steps.