The following precautions are recommended by DPH:
· Avoid contact with flood waters because they are unclean and can cause health risks for diseases like tetanus to enter through open wounds. Contact your local health department if you believe you may need a tetanus shot.
· Flood-related drowning is also a danger when people are trapped by rising flood waters or enter flooded areas. Never enter flood waters (unless you are escaping immediate danger) or attempt to drive a vehicle through flood waters.
· Floods can damage utilities, leading to downed power lines and risk for electrocution. Avoid damaged power lines. Natural gas and propane systems can produce dangerous gas leaks. If you smell gas, open doors and windows and evacuate the area.
Home Clean-up and Mold Removal
· Be careful during clean-up from flooding. Wear proper safety equipment like work gloves, boots, helmets, eye and ear protection and chainsaw chaps when operating power tools or machinery. Make sure electrical tools are properly grounded and use ground fault interrupters (GFI) if available. Never use electrically powered tools in or near standing water.
· Homeowners that have water damage should follow recommendations to limit mold growth. Mold fungi can be found indoors and outside and can accumulate in homes affected by flood/water damage. Mold grows best in warm, damp and humid conditions and spreads by making spores.
· Signs of mold include discolored walls showing water damage or green or black spots on walls. Mold also has a musty, earthy or bad smell. Allergy sufferers are affected by mold exposure.
· If mold is growing in your home, you will need to clean up the mold and fix the moisture problem. Mold growth can be removed from hard surfaces with commercial products, soap and water, or a bleach solution of no more than 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water. Severe mold cases may require an expert to clean up.
· If power goes out, keep freezers closed to maintain proper temperature for frozen foods. A full freezer will hold the temperature for approximately 48 hours and for 24 hours if the freezer is half full.
· Refrigerated foods should be safe as long as power is out for no more than four hours. Throw away any perishable food in your refrigerator like meat, poultry, lunchmeats, fish, dairy products and eggs that have been above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours.
For more information visit the Health Alerts website or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.