Health and Safety Hazards from Water Damage

A water intrusion event doesn’t only mean potential damage to property. It also poses significant hazards to health and safety. If you’ve experienced a major water intrusion event from burst pipes or a natural disaster, don’t just wade in willy-nilly to salvage your possessions. Be mindful of the precautions to take to keep you and your family safe.


Turn off the circuit breaker. This is especially important if there’s standing water or sodden carpets. While the current is still on, don’t turn on any switches or plug in any appliances. Depending on the extent of the water intrusion, you might need generators to plug in pumps, vacuums or other water extraction devices.

Don’t use your household vacuum cleaner – That seems obvious enough to go without saying. But sometimes, even the smartest people do stupid things under stress! Once you have a safe electrical supply, use a shop wet/dry vac on the wet setting to extract any puddles. If you’re contending with standing water in a flooded basement, you might need a sump pump for more rapid removal.


Most floods waters should be considered hazardous to health, and treated with caution. Flood waters in cities from natural disasters are extremely filthy, containing raw sewage, animal waste and any number of toxic chemicals. If you must handle flood water soaked items, wear protective gloves, boots and clothing and face masks/goggles. Better yet, let a professional handle it for you. They have the gear, the equipment and the know-how to handle the most challenging hazards. Here are three different types of water you might be faced with:

Category 1, Potable Water. If the flooding has come from burst water pipes, or a water heater, then most likely you are dealing with clean well water or treated water from a municipal source. This is the least toxic.

Category 2, Gray Water. This is water from washing machines, showers, bathtubs and kitchens. Gray water also contains significant pathogenic bacteria, and should also be regarded with caution. Use gloves, boots, and proper safety gear, and sanitize or dispose of them after use. Again, it’s best to have an expert advise you on the proper handling of gray water. Most gray water soaked personal possessions should also be disposed of, or properly sanitized before use.

Category 3, Black Water. This is water containing raw sewage, and contains any number of disease causing organisms. Avoid coming into contact with black water at all costs. Have a professional handle it for you. RestorePro can advise you on what personal possessions can be sanitized and salvaged, and which ones you should dispose of.


Once the flood waters have subsided or been extracted, steps need to be taken for mold prevention. Molds can cause a host of irritations in susceptible individuals. It can trigger allergic reactions or asthma attacks. Other symptoms can be nasal congestions, respiratory ailments, coughing or wheezing, or skin and eye irritation. RestorePro has the testing equipment and expertise to advise you on your next steps in the mold prevention and overall water damage repair process.

Emergencies never happen at convenient times. That’s why our insured contractors are available round the clock, 365 days a year. Let RestorePro help get your life back to normal. We have been serving Massachusetts and New Hampshire since 1997, and are the region’s most trusted damage restoration resource. Call RestorePro at 1-800-847-0114, and visit us on Facebook to see what our many happy clients have to say about our services: