Flooding: What it Does, and What to Do
In the spring and summer months (sometimes as late as the fall), flooding is a common phenomenon to occur in the state of Maryland. In fact, the entire state minus the westernmost portions is a part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed: in other words, most of the state serves as a channel for the rainfall and snowmelt to flow through streams and rivers all the way into the Chesapeake Bay. Combined with its position next to the Atlantic Ocean, Maryland witnesses about 42 inches of precipitation on average every year.
Whether it’s a flash flood that strikes out of nowhere or the steady overflow of a river, both can be incredibly dangerous if you are not careful. While it’s common for local flooding to affect your home perhaps only via leaks or failing sump pumps, flood water is powerful enough to sweep away vehicles and even homes. Some homes are more prone to flooding than others depending on how high the property is in comparison to the surrounding area. In general, it is recommended that you check if your property is located within a flood plain. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is a useful resource for determining this, as they have a Flood Map Service that can determine which areas are more likely to be flooded.
If you ever encounter flood waters outside your home:
- Keep listening to the radio or local news stations for any developing information on the flood. This will help you learn to avoid flooded areas if you are on the road.
- Stay away from flood waters – if you come up on a flowing stream where the water is above your ankles, stop and turn around. 6 inches of water can sweep you off your feet. Tip: Find a large walking stick to use to check the ground’s firmness as you walk.
- If you approach a flooded road while driving, turn around and go another way. If you are caught on a flooding road and waters are rising rapidly around you, get out of the car immediately and move to higher ground. Most cars can be swept away in less than 2 feet of water
- Keep children and pets away from the water.
After the flooding, even if the water is still, do not touch or enter the water. Flood water is heavily prone to contamination of oil, gasoline, or raw sewage. Such contaminated water is extremely harmful to one’s health. Not only that, but flood water is murky and makes it hard to see where you are putting your feet when you walk. When the water has receded and gone, then you may assess the possible damages left in its wake.
Damage can occur long after the water has gone. The remaining moisture in the area is the perfect recipe for mold growth, especially in flooded basements where walls and floors were soaked. If left untreated, mold can go on to damage the structural integrity of your home. This can cost you thousands of dollars in repairs and treatments. At the same time, do not try to clean it by yourself. Even if it seems clean and dry, you have no means of accurately assessing the area without the proper tools and experience.
If a flood strikes your home or business, contact SERVPRO of Sparrows Point/Essex/ Chase
immediately! Even minor floods have the potential to cause MAJOR damage and if not treated properly, can result in mold growth.
About SERVPRO of Sparrows Point/Essex/Chase
SERVPRO of Sparrows Point specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured, our staff is equipped to restore your property.