Ensuring Your Home is Safe After a Disaster
Sometimes nature can surprise us in the most destabilizing ways. Disasters like earthquakes, wildfires, volcanic eruptions, floods, and storms may force you to leave your home and only come back when things have returned to normal. If you are lucky, your house may remain intact and habitable. If this is the case, you will need to inspect your home and ensure no lurking danger. Here are the main areas to check for before moving back into your home:
During a disaster, your home's air quality may be compromised. For instance, wildfires are a grave concern due to the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning. It would help if you were sure that the fire has completely died out and your home is free from toxic smoke. This is the perfect time to contact a professional HVAC technician to come and assess your air conditioner and identify anything that might need fixing.
Also, if there was flooding, they can check for mold, which can cause severe illness, including throat irritation, wheezing and nasal stuffiness. Then, they can help eradicate it before it gets out of hand. Once they are convinced that your machine is doing a perfect job, it is just a matter of time before your home's aeration is restored.
Check For Cracks
Sometimes disasters leave a dreadful crack on walls, the roof, and floors. In worst-case scenarios, these cracks extend to your home's foundation. While small, thin cracks may not mean much, some cracks demand immediate action. Here is how to identify serious cracks that indicate a possible foundation link:
- Large ceiling cracks
- Ill-fitting windows and doors
- Nails sticking out of their original position
- Cracks with a stair-step appearance
- Horizontal cracks
Coming from a disaster, it is understandable that you might want to do DIY fixes for your home. However, foundational problems are risky and need a professional contractor's assessment to rule out structural problems In your home. While professional repair to your foundation may be expensive, it will ensure that your house will remain safe and give you peace of mind.
Gas leaks may occur as an aftermath of a disaster due to damaged pipes. It is important to know what action you can take when you suspect gas leakage in your home. Also, gases like LPG, which are used for heating, lighting, and cooking, are highly flammable. That is why you need to take the following steps once you get whiffs of the gas in your home:
- Evacuate everyone, including pets, from the house
- If you can identify the source of leakage, turn it off immediately
- Open the doors and windows to allow the gas to escape and let more fresh air inside
- Call 911 and do it outside to reduce chances of igniting the gas
- Avoid anything that can cause fire, including lighters and switching the lights on
Ensure that nobody enters the home until you get the go-ahead from an inspector. Remember that heavy exposure to gas may lead to death and should be treated seriously.
After disasters, it is common to encounter fallen powerlines. There is also a possibility that floodwaters found their way to sockets in the home. While electric shock is not something you hear every day, it's worth taking some precautions, especially after natural disasters. Here are some ways to protect yourself and your family:
- Keep away from fallen power lines, which are quite common after storms and earthquakes.
- Do not attempt to remove a powerline that has fallen on a home or vehicle, even if occupants are inside. Call 911 and wait for professional help.
- When driving, take note of any power lines in the water. Never drive through the water when there is a fallen power line in contact.
- If your mains are inside and your electrical equipment and sockets are soaked in water, it is safer to ask an electrician to switch off the mains. Do not wade through the water if the electricity is still on.
- If you note a burning smell inside the house, ensure you switch off the mains immediately. You can then call a qualified electrician to assess your power connection and identify the problem.
- Do not touch a person suspected to have experienced an electric shock. If they are still in contact with the power source, you will suffer the same fate. Instead, call for help and only use non-conducting material like wood or plastic to separate them from the current source
Animal or Pest Presence
Sometimes, animals and pests may find their way into homes after disasters. This is particularly true if you live near a wildlife habitat or in a rural setting. For example, animals like snakes are a real threat in the home after flooding. Other unwanted invaders include mice, rats, spiders, and scorpions. To limit injury risk, here is what you need to do:
- Wild animals are unpredictable, and you should observe distance when you encounter one. Notify the concerned authorities to relocate wildlife for the sake of everyone's safety.
- Be careful when cleaning out any debris and dimly lit areas. Do it slowly while watching out for danger.
- Get immediate medical attention for snake bites by calling for emergency help. It helps to note the snake's appearance for proper treatment. Limit movement by all means until you get help.
- Drain out stagnant water that may become a breeding home for mosquitoes
Disasters can take a toll on and cause desperation for the affected. While we may have an attachment to the property and other assets, it is paramount to put life first before everything else. Remember that it may take time to restore your home, and you might need a lot of resources. Always work with professionals to avoid putting yourself at risk during such trying moments.
At Comfortec Heating, Cooling and Plumbing, we have a qualified team to inspect all your heating and cooling equipment to ensure your home is safe. What's more, we will check the water quality and plumbing to ensure your supply is clean and safe for home use. So contact us today and let us help you get your life back to normal as soon as possible after a disaster.
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