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Floods - Get the Facts Don't Find Out Later
July 5, 2007

    Floods cause extensive property damage, injuries, evacuations and deaths every year. While floods are not uncommon, often warning are ignored leading to the risk of more lives involved in rescue efforts, injuries and even death. Below are some of the recommendations to avoid many dangers associated with floods and their aftermath.




  • Throw away unsafe food: Throw away food that may have contacted flood or storm water. Throw away canned foods that are bulging, opened, or damaged. Throw away food that has an unusual odor, color, or texture. Throw away perishable foods (including meat, poultry, fish, eggs and leftovers) that have been above 40F for 2 hours or more. Thawed food that contains ice crystals or is 40F or below can be refrozen or cooked. If cans have come in contact with floodwater or storm water, remove the labels, wash the cans, and dip them in a solution of 1 cup of bleach in 5 gallons of water. Use a permanent marker

Store food safely. While the power is out, keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed. Add ice or dry ice to your refrigerator if the electricity is expected to be off longer than 4 hours.

CDC For more information, see Keep Food and Water Safe after a Natural Disaster or Power Outage and Prevent Illness after a Natural Disaster.
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  • Prevent illness from WATER
    Listen to and follow public announcements. Local authorities will tell you if tap water is safe to drink or to use for cooking or bathing. If the water is not safe to use, follow local instructions to use bottled water or to boil or disinfect water for cooking, cleaning, or bathing.

Correctly boil or disinfect water. Finding Drinkable Water

CDC: For more information, see Keep Food and Water Safe after a Natural Disaster or Power Outage and Prevent Illness after a Natural Disaster.

Ready For Anything Now: For more information see The Necessity of Clean Water


Prevent and treat OTHER ILLNESS and INJURIES

  • Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Don't use a
    • generator,
    • pressure washer,
    • charcoal grill,
    • camp stove, or
    • other gasoline- or charcoal-burning device

     inside your home, basement, or garage or near a window, door, or vent. Don't run a car or truck inside a garage attached to your house. Don't heat your house with a gas oven.

CDC: For more information, see Carbon Monoxide Poisoning After a Disaster.
Ready For Anything Now: For more information see: Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

  • Avoid floodwater  Do not drive vehicles through water, less than 2 feet of water can sweep a large SUV off the road. Much less is required for a car. If you have to work in or near floodwater, wear a life jacket or use a anything that will keep you afloat in a emergency.
  •  Prevent mosquito bites by wearing long pants, and use insect repellents that contain DEET or Picaridin.
  • Avoid unstable buildings or homes Leave immediately if you hear shifting or unusual noises.
  • Beware of wild or stray animals.
  • Beware of electrical and fire hazards. NEVER touch a fallen power line. Call the power company to report fallen power lines. Avoid contact with overhead power lines. If wires or equipment have gotten wet or are near water, turn off the power at the main breaker or fuse on the service panel. Do not turn the power back on until electrical equipment has been inspected.
  • Do not burn candles near flammable items or leave the candle unattended. If possible, use flashlights or other battery-operated lights instead of candles.
  • Beware of hazardous materials. Contact local authorities if you are not sure about how to handle or get rid of hazardous materials.
  • Clean up and prevent mold growth. Clean up and dry out the building quickly (within 24 to 48 hours). Open doors and windows. Use fans to dry out the building. To prevent mold growth, clean wet items and surfaces with detergent and water. To remove mold growth, wear rubber gloves, open windows and doors, and clean with a bleach solution of 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water. Throw away porous items (for example, carpet and upholstery) that cannot be dried quickly. Fix any leaks in the structures.

CDC: For more information, see Mold After a Disaster.

  • Pace yourself and get support. Watch for physical or emotional exhaustion or strain. Killing yourself won't help matters.
  • Don't Lift heavy loads.  Avoid lifting any material that weighs more than 50 pounds (per person).
  • Stay cool.
  • Treat cuts or other wounds. Clean out all open wounds and cuts with soap and clean water. Apply an antibiotic ointment. Contact a doctor to find out whether more treatment is needed (such as a tetanus shot). If a wound gets red, swells, or drains, seek immediate medical attention.
  • Wash your hands. Use soap and water to wash your hands. If water isn't available, you can use alcohol-based products made for washing hands.
  • Wear protective gear for cleanup work. Wear hard hats, goggles, heavy work gloves, and watertight boots with steel toes and insoles (not just steel shank).

CDC: For more information, see Prevent Illness after a Natural Disaster and Prevent Injury after a Natural Disaster.

The Information this article is based on is Courtesy of the CDC.


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