Friday, September 12, 2014

Red Cross Offers Flood Cleanup Tips

Follow these tips for a safe clean-up:
  • Return home only when officials have declared the area safe.
  • Before entering your home, look outside for loose power lines, damaged gas lines, foundation cracks or other damage.
  • Parts of your home may be collapsed or damaged. Approach entrances carefully. See if porch roofs and overhangs have all their supports.
  • Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes that may have come into your home with the floodwater.
  • If you smell natural or propane gas or hear a hissing noise, leave immediately and call the fire department.
  • If power lines are down outside your home, do not step in puddles or standing water.
  • Keep children and pets away from hazardous sites and floodwater.
  • Materials such as cleaning products, paint, batteries, contaminated fuel and damaged fuel containers are hazardous. Check with local authorities for assistance with disposal to avoid risk.
  • During cleanup, wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and rubber boots.
  • Throw out all food, beverages and medicine exposed to flood waters and mud, including canned goods and containers with food or liquid that have been sealed shut. When in doubt, throw it out.
  •  Be careful when moving furnishings or debris since they may be water logged and heavier.
  • Some cleaning solutions can cause toxic fumes and other hazards if mixed together. If you smell a strong odor or your eyes water from the fumes or mixed chemicals, open a window and get out of your home.
  • Throw out items that absorb water and cannot be cleaned or disinfected (e.g. mattresses, carpeting, cosmetics, stuffed animals and baby toys).
  • Remove all drywall and insulation that has been in contact with flood waters.
  • Clean hard surfaces (e.g. flooring, countertops and appliances) thoroughly with hot water and soap or a detergent.

The American Red Cross offers the following informational resources in both English and Spanish for returning to your home after a flood:

Repairing Your Flooded Home (Spanish)

You can also download the free Red Cross Flood app for tips on what to do before, during and after a flood. Download it directly from the iTunes and Google Play app stores.

You can receive more safety/preparedness information by visiting