- Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline or raw sewage. Water may also be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.
- Avoid moving water.
- Be aware of areas where floodwaters have receded. Roads may have weakened and might collapse under the weight of a car.
- Stay away from downed power lines and report them to the power company.
- Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
- Stay out of any building if it is surrounded by floodwaters.
- Use extreme caution when entering buildings after a flood; there may be hidden damage, especially in foundations.
- Use a battery-powered flashlight to inspect a damaged home. Remember, the flashlight should be turned on outside before entering; the battery may produce a spark that could ignite leaking gas, if present.
- Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewage systems are serious health hazards.
- Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwater may contain sewage and chemicals.
- Basements hit by floodwaters require disinfecting and cleaning. Don't remove water from the basement too quickly or the pressure from the saturated soil around the basement may cause the walls to collapse. To help air out the basement, open windows and doors. Window exhaust fans can be helpful, but take care in choosing a place to put the fan to avoid risk of electrical shock.
- Food items that have been underwater in flood water should be carefully inspected. many products can become contaminated even if they are in a container. When in doubt, throw it out. Don't eat or save foods if they have come in contact with floodwaters. Unopened cans or jars that are not dented, cracked, rusty or with bulging seams should be safe, but remember to disinfect the top before opening it.
- Do not begin clean-up without being up to date on your tetanus vaccination. Wear protective footwear and gloves.
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