Compared to wildfires and other natural disasters, water damage is rarely something to worry about. Until it happens to you.

Canadian Direct Insurance, or CDI, asked home-owners what kinds of disasters they worried about. Fewer than one in five people in Alberta and B.C. reported worrying about flooding.

But CDI also reported that they got more claims for water damage than for anything else.

Water damage from flooding, natural or otherwise, can be devastating. Even minor water damage can ruin furniture and destroy your prized possessions.

Water damage not only destroys your belongings, it can also harm your health.

Sometimes you can take steps to prevent flooding from damaging your home. Other times there’s nothing you can do.

Pipes burst, rivers swell, and you’re left with no way to stop the rising flood waters.

After the danger passes, it’s time to start thinking about water damage restoration.

Water Damage Restoration: What You Need to Know

Cleaning up water damage is tough. When flooding or a leaking causes damage in your home, you’re going to need professional help.

Choosing the right company for your water damage restoration is essential.

Most companies deal with only one part of the clean-up process.

Some will repair pipes. Others help dry out floors and carpeting. Still more can help make sure there’s no mould or mildew left behind.

Finding the right company to handle each task can be tough.

It’s even tougher when you factor in the short timeline you have to find them. Water damage often leaves your home unlivable.

Luckily, a Toronto water damage expert like Hero Response can handle it all. This means less stress, and you’ll be back in your home before you know it.

Even if you find the perfect companies, there might be a small wait until they can come clean up the mess.

There are several things that you can do to lessen the damage after a flood and before the experts arrive.

Call for Help First

When flood or leak damage occurs, the first thing you should do is call your insurance agency. They’ll ask you questions about the extent of the damage and loss of property.

After you’ve called your insurance agency, it’s time to call in the experts.

Only after you’ve called both the insurance agency and the restoration company that you’re going to use can you start doing some damage control on your own.

Protect Yourself

If you’re going to be working in an area affected by flood damage, safety must come first.

If the water damage is from flooding, you should wait to enter your home until the water has receded to a safe level.

Once it has, the first thing you should do is check and make sure that the power is off.

When you go back into your home, wear protective clothing and closed-toe shoes. Work shoes are best.

These will help prevent cuts and scrapes caused by damaged furniture or other items.

It’s also a good idea to wear a mask to avoid inhaling any dangerous mould or mildew spores. The risk of this increases the more time that passes after the flooding occurs.

Get The Water Out If You Can

If the water level is low enough in your home that you think you can get some of it out on your own, it’s a good idea to do so.

It can take a few days for the water damage restoration companies to arrive. Having water sitting in your home can cause more damage, and poses a health risk.

Mop and blot up as much of the water as you can.

If there’s too much water to handle on your own, it’s better to wait for the professionals to arrive.

Remove Your Furniture and Belongings

After you’ve extracted the water, it’s time to remove anything that you can from the space.

Move furniture and anything else that you can save to a dry, well ventilated place. Throw out anything that is too damaged to keep.

Take the cushions off of couches and chairs, and stand them upright to dry. Wipe down wooden, plastic, and metal furniture.

If the damaged room or rooms have carpet and you can remove it, do so. You’ll also want to go ahead and remove rugs to allow the floor underneath to begin to dry out.

Get Air Moving Through the Space

While there’s still standing water in your home, you never want to use fans. The cords and water don’t mix, and it’s much too easy for a fan to fall or get pushed into the water, which can be deadly.

Once you’ve removed the water, you can start using fans to start drying out the space. Dehumidifiers can also help.

Open up cabinets and closet doors to improve air circulation. If it’s warm enough outside, open up exterior doors as well. This will not only help dry you home but will also begin to lessen some of the smell.

Take Steps to Reduce Your Risk For Future Flooding or Leaks

When it comes to natural disasters and major flooding, there’s not much you can do to protect your home. But there are ways that you can help prevent small-scale flooding or leaks.

Once the restoration experts are done, it’s time to start thinking about preventing flooding next time.

Keep your gutters and spouts clean and clear so that water flows where it’s supposed to.

In the winter, disconnect hoses to keep them from freezing, which could cause pipes to burst.

Maintain any trees or shrubs that are close to the foundation of your home. Large plants like these have long roots that can wrap around pipes and break them.

It’s also a good idea to watch your water bill. Leaks may be small and located in your walls. They could leak for a long time before you notice.

Paying attention to increases on your water bill can help you detect leaks faster. This will help you stop the damage from getting worse.

If you’re moving to a new home, you can request water usage records. Use these to help you judge whether your bill is normal or high.