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Recovery Assistance & Mitigation Planning

Recovery Planner Jennifer Gerbasi

 

What to Do Before and After a Flood

Wednesday January 06, 2016 07:25 am

We are past the official storm season and had no major event in 2015. Still, we need to be prepared for a flood at any time. Advance planning and research of options in the off season can save time and money, and lives, in future events. The range of damages after a flood can be major or minor. Minor flood damage can include a small amount of seepage in the walls or crawlspace, but that can cause permanent damage to the structure. Your car may also become flooded. No matter what the damage, keep these 20 flood safety tips in mind.

1.Wading Through Flood Waters

Wading through flood waters is dangerous for several reasons. First, flood waters can be moving at a rapid pace. Before you know it, you can be swept away and drown. Next, flood water can contain hundreds of different chemicals that are harmful for the body. In addition, bacteria and other microorganisms can cause disease and infection.

2.Driving in Flood Waters

Driving in flood waters is dangerous and risky. Cars can be swept away in just a few inches of water. You can become stranded, or worse – lose control and be swept into a waterway, other traffic, electric lines, structures, etc.

3.Keep Flood Insurance Policies up to Date

Flood insurance can protect you from an unexpected flood. Typically, the people that assume they do not need flood insurance are the people most affected by flood damages. > Contact an insurance agent for rates and insurance information.

4. Listen to Flood Stage Warnings

Every waterway has its own unique flood stage. Every single time a warning is posted for floods, be prepared. Flooding can come from the bayou, the gulf, or a heavy rain storm.

5.Understand the Dangers of Mold and Mildew

Mold after a flood can cause major problems even years after flood waters have receded. When hurricane Ike ravaged Texas, millions of tons of debris had to be removed because of growing mold and mildew problems.

6.Using Electricity After the Flood

Always remember that electrical lines and water do not mix. Standing in water and attempting to remove electrical wires is plain dangerous. Also remember that even if you do not have power in some locations in your house, not all the lines could be dead.

7.Handling Animals after a Flood

Snakes, rodents, and stray animals can be extremely dangerous after a flood. From bites to diseases, never handle or approach animals after a flood. Keep in mind that insects are also a nuisance after a flood and can carry diseases.

8.Wear Protective Clothing and Gloves

Always wear protective clothing and gloves after a flood. Chemicals, animals, and debris can cause serious illness or injury. It is also a good idea to wear a protective mask when cleaning up after a flood. Many of the chemicals or mold can cause respiratory problems.

9.Use Caution on Previously Flooded Roads and Bridges

Floods can damage roads and bridges. Unseen structural damage can mean it is not safe to drive on previously flooded roadways. Be sure that the area has been inspected by officials and approved for travel.

10.Get a Home Inspection to Assess and Document the Damages

Whether it is the insurance company, FEMA, or the local jurisdiction, make an effort to be sure that your damages are documented. Many people don’t make an insurance claim if they think the damage is near the deductible. 100% grant opportunities may be available to those who have four claims of $5,000 or more.

11. Inspect Your Septic Tank or Sewage System

If your house is flooded, so is your septic tank or sewage system. Raw sewage is extremely dangerous and can carry a multitude of infectious agents. Be sure your plumbing system is intact before resuming your daily routines in your home.

12.Drinking Water after a Flood

Unless you get an official okay from your township or city, do not drink the water. Whether you have a well, spring water, or city water, the system may have been contaminated by flood waters. Have a professional test your water after the flood to be sure. Until then, drink bottled water.

13.Lighting Candles in a Building

Candles are a staple of emergency equipment. Why would lighting a candle be bad after a flood? The main reason for not lighting a candle is the possible presence of flammable liquids such as oil and gasoline. Lighting a candle in a flooded building could create a fire emergency on top of the flood emergency.

14.Keep Immunizations Current

Have you had a tetanus shot in the last ten years? Are your immunizations current? Floods can cause diseases because of the mix of microorganisms within the flood waters. Keep yourself and your children current on their immunizations to prevent problems. Access to medical care may be decreased after an event.

15. Use Caution to avoid Carbon Monoxide Buildup

Carbon monoxide is a silent killer. Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas. Keep generators and gas-powered heaters in areas with good ventilation. Also make sure your home is well ventilated during clean up. It is also a good idea to keep a carbon monoxide detector in the home.

16.Take Photos of Structures Inside and Out

I always recommend keeping a disposable camera in your emergency supply kit. Photos of damages can help you to make a claim to your insurance company after the flood is over. The photos can also be used to document the extent of the floods. Finally, you may even be able to learn how to better protect your home from another flood if you live in a flood prone area.

17.Have a Weather Safety Kit

Even a small storm can cause a loss of power for days. Not having power, especially in the winter months can be dangerous. Always have a weather emergency kit available. The kit can be stored in a large plastic bin and put in the corner of your garage or a closet. Maybe you will never use the kit, but maybe you will. Learn how to make a weather emergency kit.

18.Eating After a Flood

Foods in the pantry can be dangerous after a flood. High humidity and the spread of insects can cause even seemingly dry foods to become infested. Thrown out dry goods in boxes. Also throw out any foods that came in contact with the flood water.

19. Know Your Flood Risk

Is your structure lower than the suggested safe elevation (base flood elevation)?> An elevation certificate provided by a licensed surveyor, architect, or engineer will be required for flood insurance policy renewals.> It will also contain the projected height of flood at that specific location which could help the owner plan for storms.> For a quick look, go to maps.lsuagcenter.com/>floodmaps.

20.Lower your Flood Risk if Possible

Whether raising the water heater or air conditioning unit, putting electric appliances or valuables above the projected flood levels, or raising the whole house, there are ways to reduce losses if a flood does occur. Call the local floodplain manager at 985-873-6567 for information about lowering your flood risk.

Adapted from: Things You Should NEVER Do After a Flood

Flood Safety Tips for After the Floods

By Rachelle Oblack

 

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