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What To Do - After the Flood

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  • Check on elderly or disabled neighbors to make sure they are well and any appropriate precautions have been taken.
  • Do not enter flooded basements where electricity could be present.
  • Do not heat the home to more than about 40 degrees Fahrenheit until all water is removed. A better choice is not to use central air conditioning units and furnaces units until the basement is restored for occupancy since air borne contaminants could be dispersed throughout the house.
  • Replace filters and insulation inside furnaces, water heaters, refrigerators and freezers if they have been wet. It may be cheaper just to replace some equipment. Flooded forced-air heating ducts and return-ducts should either be cleaned or replaced.
  • If you have flood insurance, contact your agent once your safety is secured. Photograph any damage to your property and save receipts for replacement items or repair work.
  • Avoid floodwaters for reasons of health and safety. Do not let children play in the water.
  • Avoid down power lines and muddy waters where power lines may have fallen.
  • If in doubt - throw it out! Anything that stays wet long enough, will grow mold, and mold can make people sick.
  • Discard food that may have been contaminated by flooding or as a result of spoilage due to power outage.
  • Flood water in basements is likely from a sewer back-up, therefore when cleaning up take precautions to avoid direct contact by wearing waterproof gloves and boots, and washing your hands, body and clothing with soap and water afterwards.
  • After a flooded basement or other area has been cleared of water, scrub down the area with hot, soapy water, followed by a rinse with a solution of warm water and household bleach (1 cup of bleach per 5 gallons of water).
  • Mold is a serious concern. Dry all areas and items quickly and thoroughly to prevent mold growth.
  • If you get your drinking water from a well, and well head was flooded, your well water will need to be tested before you use it.
  • Stay away from disaster areas unless local authorities requests volunteers. If you are needed, bring your own drinking water, food, and sleeping gear. Another way to help is to donate money to a recognized disaster relief organization. Do not donate food, clothing, or other personal items unless they are specifically requested.