Flood Damage Safety Tips

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					  Flood Damage Safety Tips

Cleaning and Restoring Life as we Know it
                 Why Me Why Us!
Stay healthy. Prevent the flood waters from causing further damage to
your family's health by keeping good hygiene as much as possible.
   – Wash your hands with soap and water, thoroughly and often.
   – Confirm that the water is clean and safe. Don’t drink it or wash dishes
     until you’re sure. Typically, flood waters mix with septic tanks and city
     sewer systems, so it is best to wait for civil authorities to declare the
     water safe to drink.
   – Take care not to hurt yourself. Injuries, especially back injuries, are a
     common side effect of cleaning up after a flood. Be conscious that
     infections are everywhere.
   – Report health hazards. Tell the Health Department about animal
     carcasses, dangerous chemicals, and similar hazards on your property.
   – Infants, pregnant women, and people with health problems should avoid
     the flooded area until cleanup is complete. When you work in an area
     that has been flooded, you'll be exposed to dangerous chemicals and
     germs that you are not used to and can make you very sick.
          Firstly and Always
Think Safety
• When can you start cleanup, simple when
  it is safe to enter the flood damaged area
  put items up for cleaning and review
• Wet items bring wet problems always
  think of using gloves rubber boots safety
  glasses and N95 filter masks
• Keep the family together. Before
  anything else, ensure that everyone is safe
  and in the same place or at least
  somewhere you know they're safe. In bad
  times, togetherness is more important
  than ever for providing mutual support for
  all family members
      Deal with any health issues
        impacting your family.
 It's important to deal with health impacts such as protecting
against waterborne diseases, stress, and fatigue.
   – Take care of emotional health. Discuss what is happening, talk
     together and share your anxieties. Let others talk to you to help
     release tension. Allow space for releasing emotions: crying is a
     natural response to a disaster and it’s also a great way to release
     pent-up emotions. Watch for signs of stress. You've just been
     through a disaster and the recovery period can be long, hard,
     and chaotic.
   – Ensure that everyone is getting enough sleep. Fatigue can bring
     on other health problems as well as reducing energy levels. Rest
   – Eat well. You are more likely to suffer from stress and health
     problems when you are weak and nutritionally impoverished.
                         Check first
Check your home before entering it again. Once it's safe to go back
in, you'll be able to start protecting your home and contents from
further damage. Things to check before entering include:
   – If there is standing water next to the outside walls of your home, don’t
     go in. You won’t be able to tell if the building is safe or structurally
   – Walk carefully around the outside of your home and check for loose
     power lines and gas leaks. If you find downed lines or leaks, call your
     utility company and don't enter until they've checked.
   – Check the foundation for cracks or other damage. Examine porch roofs
     and overhangs to be sure they still have all their supports. If any
     supports or portions of the foundation wall are missing or the ground
     has washed away, the floor is not safe.
   – If you have any doubts about safety, contact a contractor before going
     in. Proceed very carefully.
                Think step by step
Set up a step-by-step action plan to:

    – remove all water, mud and other debris

    – dispose of contaminated household goods

    – rinse away contamination inside the home

    – remove the rinse water

    – clean and dry out your house and salvageable possessions.
           Go inside carefully.
 If the door sticks and has to be forced open,
it has probably swollen. If it only sticks at the
bottom, it can be forced open. If it sticks at
the top, your ceiling may be ready to fall.
  – Once inside do not smoke or use candles, gas
    lanterns, or other open flames.
  – Air out your home completely—there may be
    explosive gas. This also ensures that moisture
    is given a chance to start drying out. Open
    doors and windows if the weather permits.
Safety now Safety again Tomorrow
Electrical equipment exposed to water can be extremely
dangerous if reenergized without proper reconditioning
or replacement. Reductions in integrity of electrical
insulation due to moisture, debris lodged in the
equipment components, and other factors, can damage
electrical equipment by affecting the ability of the
equipment to perform its intended function. Damage to
electrical equipment can also result from flood waters
contaminated with chemicals, sewage, oil, and other
debris that will affect the integrity and performance of
the equipment.
            Electrical Safety First
The protective components are critical to the safe operation of
distribution circuits. Their ability to protect these circuits is
adversely affected by exposure to water and to the minerals and
particles which may be present in the water. In molded case
circuit breakers and switches, such exposure can affect the
overall operation of the mechanism through corrosion, through
the presence of foreign particles, and through removal of
lubricants. The condition of the contacts can be affected and the
dielectric insulation capabilities of internal materials can be
reduced. Further, some molded case circuit breakers are
equipped with electronic trip units and the functioning of these
trip units might be impaired. For fuses, the water may affect the
filler material. A damaged filler material will degrade the
insulation and interruption capabilities.
     Recommended flood cleanup
•   Gloves
•   Masks and other protective gear
•   Pails, mops and squeegees
•   Plastic garbage bags
•   Unscented detergent
•   Large containers for soaking bedding, clothing and linens, and
    clotheslines to hang them to dry

Additional equipment
• Depending on your situation, you may need to rent additional
  equipment such as extension cords, submersible pumps, wet/dry
  shop vacuums, a carbon monoxide sensor and dehumidifiers, fans or
• When using the equipment, keep extension cords out of the water.

• Remove water from your flooded home
  slowly. Drain it in stages – about one third
  of the volume daily – because if the
  ground is still saturated and water is
  removed too quickly, the walls or the floor
  could buckle.
• Use pumps or pails to remove standing
  water, then a wet/dry shop vacuum to
  mop up the rest.
It will help in the drying process
Flood waters damage materials, leave mud, silt and unknown
contaminants, and promote the growth of mildew. You need to dry
your home to reduce these hazards and the damage they cause.
 Everything will dry more quickly and clean more easily if you can
reduce the humidity in the home. If the humidity outside is lower than
indoors, and if the weather permits, open all the doors and windows.
    – Open closet and cabinet doors, and remove drawers to allow air
    – Use fans to help move the air and dry out your home. Do not use central
      air conditioning or the furnace blower if the ducts were under water. If
      there is a way to run the fan in reverse, run it venting to the outside to
      dry out the ducts.
    – Run dehumidifiers to draw out moisture. Dehumidifiers and window air
      conditioners will reduce the humidity, especially in closed up areas.
    – Desiccants (materials that absorb moisture) are very useful in drying
      closets or other enclosed areas where air cannot move through.
                  Heat Not Humidity
•   Do not heat your home to more than 4°C (about 40°F) until all of the water
    is removed.
•   If you use pumps or heaters powered by gasoline, kerosene or propane, buy
    and install a carbon monoxide sensor. Combustion devices can produce
    large amounts of lethal carbon monoxide if they're not tuned-up or are
    improperly ventilated.
•   Do not use flooded appliances, electrical outlets, switch boxes or fuse-
    breaker panels until they have been checked by your local utility.
•   Whether you use a wood, gas or electrical heating system, have it
    thoroughly inspected by a qualified technician before using it again. Replace
    the furnace blower motor, switches and controls if they have been soaked.
•   Flooded forced-air heating ducts and return-duct pans should be either
    cleaned or replaced.
•   Replace filters and insulation inside furnaces, water heaters, refrigerators and
    freezers if they have been wet. However, it is often cheaper to replace this
          3 piles to consider
• Sort contents and discard debris. You
  have three types of contents that should
  go to three different places:
  – Move items you want to save to a safe, dry
    place, such as the second story, or outside.
  – Put things you don’t want to save outside to
    dry until the adjuster comes to confirm your
  – Get rid of food and anything else that could
    spoil or go bad immediately.
May Help and Equipment is near by
• Get hold of cleaning equipment. The Red
  Cross or similar organizations will often
  distribute cleanup kits after a disaster. These
  contain many useful items such as a broom,
  mop, bucket, and cleaning supplies. In most
  cases, household cleaning products will do
  the job if you use them correctly. Check the
  label on the products to see how much to
  use. After cleaning a room or item, go over it
  again with a disinfectant to kill the germs and
  smell left by the flood waters.
           One Room at a Time
Tackle one room at a time. A two bucket approach is
most efficient: use one bucket for rinse water and the
other for the cleaner. Rinse out your sponge, mop, or
cleaning cloth in the rinse bucket.
   – Start cleaning a wall at the bottom or where the worst
     damage was. If you have removed the wallboard or plaster,
     wash the studs and sills and disinfect them.
   – If you taped your windows before the storm, clean the tape
     off as soon as possible. The sun will bake the adhesive into
     the glass. Use orange or eucalyptus oil to help remove the
     sticky leftovers.
   – Don’t try to force open swollen wooden doors and
     drawers. Take off the back of the piece of furniture to let
     the air circulate. You'll probably be able to open the
     drawers after they dry.
    Do not Mix Chemicals when
          Cleaning items
Mixing certain products, such as bleach and
ammonia, can produce toxic fumes and
result in injury and even death.
Exercise care when cleaning items, since
household cleaning agents can be harsh.
  A second risk is present without
        proper ventilation
Avoid Carbon Monoxide
• Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless,
  colorless gas that can be lethal at high levels.
  Dangerous carbon monoxide levels can build
  up rapidly if combustion devices are used
  indoors. Gasoline-powered generators, camp
  stoves, grills, lanterns and charcoal-burning
  devices are designed for outdoor use only.
  Do not use these indoors.
                   Clean from the Top Down
•   Work from the top down. Break out all ceilings and walls that have been soaked or
    that have absorbed water. Remove materials at least 500 mm (20 in.) above the high-
    water line. Removing only the lower part of the wall applies if action is taken
    immediately after the flood or wetting event. Gypsum board walls that have been
    exposed to high humidity or standing water for a prolonged period of time should be
    removed in their entirety and discarded. Ceiling tiles and paneling should be treated
    like drywall.
•   Wash and wipe/scrub down all affected or flooded surfaces with unscented detergent
    and water. Rinse. Repeat the process as needed. Concrete surfaces can be cleaned
    with a solution of TSP (tri-sodium phosphate) in water (one half cup TSP to one gallon
    of warm water).When using TSP, which is highly corrosive, wear gloves and eye
•   Surfaces that are dry and/or have not been directly affected by the flood water should
    be vacuumed with a HEPA vacuum cleaner. Further cleaning of concrete surfaces can
    be done with TSP. Washable surfaces can be washed with unscented detergent and
    water. Surface mould on wood can be removed with a vacuum-sander. Do not sand
    without simultaneous vacuuming.
          What is salvageable

• Frames of high-quality furniture can often be
  saved. However, they must first be cleaned,
  disinfected and rinsed, then dried by
  ventilation away from direct sunlight or heat.
  Drying too quickly can cause warping and
• Clothes can be cleaned. Scrape heavy dirt
  from washable clothes. Rinse and wash them
  several times with detergent and dry quickly.
   Not Clean to Eat Regardless
Throw any food out that has been
touched by flood waters. Even food in tin
cans should be discarded if the cans got wet
during the flood because there is no way to
be absolutely certain the food inside is safe.
Do not keep food in bottles or jars with
bottle caps or screw on lids—they do not
keep out flood waters
     Dirt and debris /Floor drains
• Remove all soaked and dirty materials as well as debris.
• Break out walls and remove drywall, wood paneling and
  insulation at least 50 centimeters (20 inches) above the high-
  water line.
• Hose down any dirt sticking to walls and solid-wood furniture
  then rinse several times.
• Wash and wipe down all surfaces and structures with
  unscented detergent and water. Rinse.
• Flush and disinfect floor drains and sump pumps with
  detergent and water. Scrub them to remove greasy dirt and
• Clean or replace footing drains outside the foundation when
  they are clogged. Consult a professional for advice or service.
            Carpets and furniture

• Carpets must be dried within the first two days. For large
  areas, hire a qualified professional to do the job. Carpets
  soaked with sewage must be discarded immediately.
• Remove residual mud and soil from furniture, appliances, etc.
• If items are just damp, let the mud dry and then brush it off.
• To test if material is dry, tape clear food wrap to the surface of
  the item. If the covered section turns darker than the
  surrounding material, it is still damp. Dry until this no longer
• For upholstered furniture you should consult a professional to
  see what can be salvaged. In the meantime, remove cushions
  and dry separately. Do not remove upholstery. Raise furniture
  on blocks and place fans underneath.
• Wooden furniture: Remove drawers and open doors. Do not
  dry quickly or splitting may occur.
  Mother Nature isn't HELPING!
Keep the house clean. As you get rid of things
from your home, don’t turn your yard into a
dump. Food and garbage must be hauled away
as soon as possible.
  – Mosquitoes can carry many diseases, and a flood
    can create ideal conditions for them to breed.
    Drain or remove standing water that can become
    a breeding ground. Dump water out of barrels,
    old tires, and cans. Check that your gutters are
    clean and can drain.
  – Ditches and drains also need to be cleaned so
    they can carry storm water away from your home.

• Mold can lead to serious health problems.
• If you are cleaning up in a room where mold is
  present, wear a face mask and disposable gloves.
• To minimize mold growth, move items to a cool,
  dry area within 48 hours and set up fans.
• Alternatively, textiles, furs, paper and books can be
  frozen until they are treated.
• Wet mould will smear if wiped. Let it dry and then
  brush it off outdoors.
• You can also kill mold spores by lightly misting the
  item with isopropanol (rubbing alcohol).
    Always have a clean Plan B
Before moving back in
• Once the flood waters have receded, you must not
  live in your house until:
• The regular water supply has been inspected and
  officially declared safe for use.
• Every flood-contaminated room has been
  thoroughly cleaned, disinfected and surface-dried.
• All contaminated dishes and utensils have been
  thoroughly washed and disinfected – either by
  using boiling water or by using a sterilizing
  solution of one part chlorine bleach to four parts
  water. Rinse dishes and utensils thoroughly.
Remember you are not alone
And Resources are Available

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