CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - April 15, 2011) - For homeowners, few natural events cause greater or more lasting damage than a flood. But what many of us may not know is that much of the worst damage can actually occur after the water has drained away.

If your home has been flooded, the best way to protect your property, your belongings - and the health of your family – is by getting rid of the water and drying your house as quickly as possible. Whether you do the work yourself or hire a contractor, a few important precautions should always be taken before you begin:

  • Put safety first. Avoid electrical shock by wearing rubber boots, keeping extension cords out of the water and shutting off power to the flooded area.

  • Record the details of the damage with photos or video if possible, and contact your insurance agent and register with your municipality as soon as possible.

  • Set up a step-by-step action plan to remove all remaining water, mud and other debris, dispose of contaminated household goods, rinse away contamination and disinfect contaminated surfaces, and dry out your house and salvageable possessions.

  • Assemble all the equipment and supplies you'll need in advance, including gloves, masks, pails, mops, squeegees, plastic garbage bags, unscented detergent and large containers for wet bedding and clothing.

  • Store valuable papers in a sealable plastic bag in a working freezer until you can work on them.

Then, during the clean up, keep a checklist of chores close at hand to make sure the work is carried out in an order that will help minimize the damage, including:

  • Remove standing water with pumps or pails and a wet/dry shop vacuum, and remove all soaked and dirty materials and debris, including wet insulation and drywall, residual mud and soil, furniture, appliances, clothing and bedding.

  • Work from the top down, breaking out ceilings and walls that have absorbed water, removing materials at least 500 mm above the high-water line and replacing any flooring that has been deeply penetrated by flood water or sewage.

  • Hose down and thoroughly rinse all surfaces wetted by the flood water, and wash and wipe down with a solution of unscented detergent and water. Rinse. If the surfaces do not appear clean, repeat the washing down with detergent, scrubbing as needed, then rinse again.

  • Clean surfaces not directly affected by the flood water with the detergent solution and allow to dry.

  • Ventilate or dehumidify the house until it is completely dry.

For more information or a free copy of the "About Your House" fact sheet After the Flood, visit our website at or call CMHC at 1-800-668-2642. For over 60 years, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has been Canada's national housing agency, and a source of objective, reliable housing information.

Contact Information:

CMHC Media Relations
National Office