Friday, September 16, 2011
Tips to staying safe while cleanup up flood damage
Thousands of people in the Greater Binghamton area are returning home to homes damaged by flood waters. The cleanup process will be long and difficult. Staying safe and protecting your health during that time is important and requires caution on your part.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency says the first concern is to make sure your community's water is safe to drink. Cleanup will be hard work you must stay hydrated. If your water is unsafe to drink, make sure you have bottled water on hand for use in cooking, brushing your teeth and drinking. You can also boil your water to kill any possible bacteria in the water. That means bringing the water to a rolling boil for at least a minute before using it.
You should also avoid walking through flood water. The water can be contaminated with oil, gasoline or raw sewage. If there are downed power lines are electrical services under water, the water could also be charged. That could result in shocks or electrocution.
Once you begin cleaning up your home, make sure you clean and disinfect everything that got wet. The mud left behind by the flood waters can contain sewage and chemicals that could make you sick. Be careful of the cleaning supplies you use to clean your home. Never mix bleach and ammonia. The fumes could kill you.
If you are using generators, pressure washers, charcoal grills, camp stoves or other fuel-burning equipment, keep them outside and away from open doors and windows. The exhaust from these can get trapped in your home and cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends you eat and drink only water and food you know are safe. The CDC also say you should avoid tetanus and other diseases by getting medical attention for dirty cuts or deep puncture wounds. UHS Stay Healthy is offering tetanus clinics over the next few days for people who are performing flood cleanup. Check here or on the home page of UHS.net for a time and date that is best for you.
Washing your hands often with soap and clean water, or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer will also help you avoid sickness. The CDC says wearing waterproof boots and gloves will also help keep flood water off your skin and help you avoid getting sick.
For more tips on staying safe during flood cleanup and the best way to clean up your home to prevent mold, visit the CDC website.