The recent deluge has wreaked havoc in parts of New South Wales and Canberra, bringing significant flash floods, particularly around Lake Conjola on the state’s South Coast.
The Bureau of Meteorology has sounded alarms across these regions, warning about the potential danger of flash floods, violent winds and predicting more than 120mm rainfall in six hours. The public has been advised to steer clear of floodwaters, stay away from downed power lines, and evacuate when required.
However, the challenges continue beyond there.
For those whose homes have been damaged by the floods, quick and effective action is necessary for safety, preventing further property damage, and initiating recovery.
Key steps include:
- Halting the water flow
- Disconnecting electricity
- Evacuating if conditions are unsafe
- Summoning emergency services
- Recording damages
- Beginning cleaning works
- Preventing the growth of mould
- Getting in touch with your landlord or insurance company
- Calling a plumber if required.
This article provides a comprehensive guide on what actions to take if your home is flooded due to the ongoing extreme weather events in the ACT and NSW areas.
Canberra Flooding: Prioritise Evacuation and Safety
If the recent flooding in Canberra has affected your property, the prime focus should be the safety and evacuation of your family and pets.
Prompt evacuation is necessary when authorities issue a warning, or if it is unsafe inside due to flooding, electrical hazards, or structural instability. Wear sturdy shoes and clothing that provide warmth and protect your extremities while evacuating.
Make sure every family member is accounted for, too. In the meantime, move to higher ground away from the flood, such as a neighbour’s house on higher ground or a local emergency shelter.
If anyone needs immediate medical attention, call 000 right away. Emergency services may be delayed due to flooded roads, so having first aid supplies handy is advisable.
Stay vigilant for changing conditions and additional evacuation orders from local emergency authorities like ESA ACT. Do not attempt to drive or walk through floodwaters, which can conceal road damage and be deeper or faster than they appear.
Finally, wait for the authorities’ clearance before returning home.
Turn Off Your Water
In the case of flooding from external sources like heavy rainfall or overflowing storm drains, your first priority should be to locate and turn off the main water valve leading into your home’s plumbing system. This is crucial to prevent additional flooding from internal plumbing leaks or bursts that may have worsened during the Canberra floods.
You can typically find the main water shut-off valve where the water line enters your home, usually in the basement, garage, or an external wall. Turning this valve to the closed position will cut off the water supply to your entire plumbing system.
Swiftly locating and turning off the main water valve can mitigate property damage from internal flooding. It will prevent water from entering and spreading through your home’s damaged plumbing system. Stopping the continued water flow will also safely handle potentially dangerous electrical situations.
Exercise caution when moving through standing water to access the main water valve. Wear rubber boots and waterproof clothing, and do not touch electrical panels or outlets while standing in water. If you can’t safely reach your home’s main water valve, call for help from emergency responders.
Of course, if you’re not sure how to approach this, contact our plumbers, who can do this for you.
Reach Out to a Plumber
It’s critical to call a licensed plumber as soon as possible to inspect your home’s plumbing system for any leaks or pipe bursts. Blocked drains can also be a significant problem in such situations.
Our plumbers can advise on necessary repairs to stop additional water from entering and spreading through your damaged plumbing network or assist with any blockages. This is crucial to prevent further flooding and water damage inside your home.
Prompt identification and repair of pipe issues by a professional plumber will also help prevent mould growth, which can occur within 48 hours of flooding. Mould remediation can be costly, so prevention is ideal.
Contact Your Landlord/Insurance Company
Make sure to thoroughly document any property damage from the flooding with photos and videos. This documentation is crucial for filing an insurance claim.
For renters, contacting your landlord or property manager to report the flood damage is just as important. Provide them with the documentation and discuss the next steps for repairs and making the property safe.
Always promptly contact your insurance company to file a claim, if you are a homeowner. Insurance companies can provide advice on working with approved contractors for cleanup and repairs, which is necessary to return back to your home safely (if you evacuated). Provide them with the documentation of the damage to support your claim.
Clean Up Any Flooded Areas
Once the floodwaters recede from your home, remove any standing water and thoroughly clean and disinfect submerged areas. This will help prevent further damage and the growth of mould.
Utilise a pump, wet/dry vacuum, or mops to remove excess water. Open windows and doors and use fans to circulate air and dry the space as quickly as possible. The faster you can dry flooded areas, the less chance mould has to develop, as it can grow within 48 hours of a flood if surfaces remain damp.
Clean any surfaces or objects touched by the floodwaters thoroughly using disinfectants like bleach solutions, vinegar, or antimicrobial cleaners. Wear waterproof boots, gloves, goggles, and a face mask for protection. It’s crucial to remove contaminants and disinfect them to prevent spreading bacteria like E. coli.
Lastly, dispose of any porous items that cannot be thoroughly cleaned, like carpeting, mattresses, or upholstered furniture. These can harbour mould and bacteria if they’re saturated. Be careful to avoid exposure to hazardous contents of floodwaters.
Repairs and Returning Home after the Floods in Canberra
After the floodwaters have completely receded from your Canberra home, you should undertake repairs through your insurer, landlord, or contractors. This is important to restore safety and functionality. This may involve repairs to the building structure, plumbing system, HVAC system, flooring, and walls.
Only return home when authorities or your insurer confirm that it’s safe to do so. Be sure to inspect the electricity or gas before turning it back on, and be on the lookout for new signs of damage or leaks that may have occurred as the floodwaters receded. Remember that water exposure can continue to compromise structures long after a flood.
In the days and weeks following your return home, continue closely monitoring your property for any new damage, leaks, or failures. Floodwater often contains contaminants that can corrode or weaken materials, and problems like mould growth may arise during the drying-out process. If new issues occur, contact your insurer to ensure proper remediation.
Why You Should Contact a Plumber
Getting in touch with a licensed plumber is crucial after your home suffers flood damage for several reasons:
We possess specialised expertise in identifying leaks, bursts, and other issues within home plumbing systems.
Our expertise can help pinpoint current issues allowing water to enter the home and suggest necessary repairs.
Plumbers can also recommend preventative measures to avoid future flooding. This may involve inspecting pipe materials, drainage, water pressure, and more to identify vulnerabilities. For example, the team at Canberra Plumbing & Drains can suggest homeowner upgrades or changes to better protect against flooding.
Fixing pipe problems promptly with our plumbers is absolutely crucial for stopping the water source and preventing further damage inside the home. If you’re finding you’re affected by the recent Canberra floods, get in touch as soon as possible.