top of page
  • Writer's pictureSELECT Restoration

What Makes Flood Damage So Dangerous?

A flood can be a dangerous experience, whether it’s confined to your basement or a large-scale commercial property damage restoration claim. Catastrophic flooding carries the obvious risk of drowning, but even smaller home floods can result in dangerous electrical hazards and contamination risks.

Know When to Call for Help

A basement flood in your home puts you at risk for electrocution if you make physical contact with floodwaters. Never go into a flooded basement until a licensed electrician or emergency worker (from the fire department or utility company) has turned off the power to your home or flood damaged basement. Even if you’ve lost power during a storm, a neighbour running a generator could be enough to backfeed electricity into your home and put you at risk for electrocution.

Flash floods are particularly dangerous. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report that over half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into dangerous floodwater. Did you know a mere 6 inches of fast-moving flood water can knock down an adult, and it takes only 12 inches of rushing water to carry away a small car, while 2 feet of fast moving flood water can carry away a larger vehicles.

If you have water damage insurance, call your home insurance company and report the flood. Confirm your coverage limits, deductible amount, and claim procedures.

The IICRC Three Categories of Water Damage

After discovering flood damage, did you know that the contamination is a serious threat to your health. In general, there are three types of floodwater you might encounter. Clean water and greywater floods are usually confined to the home, while blackwater floods can happen at home but also on a larger scale, such as the widespread flooding after a hurricane or other severe weather event.

Category 1: Clean Water

Floodwater that does not pose an immediate health threat is known as clean water. Clean water floods can result from a burst pipe, toilet holding tanks, and melting snow and rainwater. Clean water home floods are generally safe for you to clean up yourself, but standing clean water can become greywater in as little as 48 hours.

Category 2: Greywater

Greywater refers to flood water that is not contaminated with fecal matter. It generally contains fewer pathogens than blackwater and can be reused for non-potable purposes, such as toilet flushing. Greywater still contains small amounts of contaminants and can cause illness if consumed by humans. Greywater cleanup must begin immediately as it can become blackwater in as little as 48 hours.

Category 3: Blackwater

Blackwater refers to flood water contaminated with human waste or sewage damage. The local rain storm flooding we see on television are blackwater. Raw sewage or sewer backup flooding in Toronto is classified as blackwater. Blackwater is a haven for dangerous bacteria and bloodborne pathogens that must fully be cleaned, dried and sanitized. Sewer backup flood water in your basement can also be contaminated with dissolved chemicals and particulates, making contact even more dangerous.

When it comes to flooding emergencies, blackwater floods are the most dangerous and the most destructive. Because of the grossly unsanitary conditions of the flood water, items such as water damaged carpets, furiture and drywall need to be removed and replaced. Contact with blackwater via ingestion or skin contact can cause illness in both humans and pets.

At SELECT Restoration Services, our trained and certified technicians will provide a free on-site evaluation and work directly with your insurance company to make the repair experience as hassle-free as possible. If you have had plumbing-related basement floods in the past, there are a few things you can do to protect your home.

  • Monitor any areas that have had water damage in the past.

  • Keep the number of your local SELECT Restoration Services on hand at all times! Save the number to your local restoration expert and post it near the areas most susceptible to water damage - or remember our national toll-free number: 1-833-24EMERG, which automatically routes you to your local SELECT Restoration Services water damage expert.

  • Inspect pipes, water shutoff valves, appliance connections and hoses regularly for potential leaks.

  • In areas prone to flood damage, install flood alarms for help with early detection and to prevent damage.

If you require emergency flood cleanup service in Toronto, get the help you need and the peace of mind you deserve. Time matters when you have unexpected water damage or basement flooding in your Toronto home. Remember that mould damage can begin within 48 hours and water damage should be extracted, cleaned and dried immediately. Don't hesitate to contact the experts at SELECT Restoration Services.

Make us your FIRST CALL for 24/7 emergency service and FAST water damage and flood sewer backup cleanup in Toronto.


261 Bering Avenue, Unit 2

Toronto, ON M8Z 3A5

☎️ Office: 905-499-3765

☎️ 24-Hour: 1-833-24EMERG

📢 “Call them first!” 📢

🔥 Voted Best Smoke, Fire and Soot Damage Restoration in Toronto, Ontario

💧 Voted Best Flood Damage Restoration and Water Cleanup in Toronto, Ontario


bottom of page