Use Caution When Returning Home After a Flood

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Many parts of California are privy to flooding conditions at various times of the year.  As such, residents in at-risk areas need to be prepared for the damage that can occur when the water comes rushing in.  The Red Cross has provided a series of safety tips to those returning to their home after a flood, and the tips are important to review for anyone whose residence may at some point be in the path of a storm.

If you ever have to leave your home for any period of time, you should first conduct the necessary preparations before you head back into the residence.  Don’t go inside until local authorities say it is safe to do so, and give yourself ample time to clear out the home safely.  Before you enter, you should take pains to equip yourself with things like bottled water, nonperishable food items, batteries, and flashlights.  By acting as if utilities will be out for the foreseeable future, you won’t be caught off-guard by extended outages.

Before you head inside, walk the perimeter to see what kind of exterior damage may have been had.  Look out for foundation issues as well as signs of a broken gas main.  If power lines have gone down in the area, it might be best to alert officials and wait a little longer to enter.

Once you do get into the house, it’s imperative that you go room by room to make sure things are safe.  Take pains to confirm that the floodwaters didn’t bring unwanted critters in with the waves.  Call animal control if a particularly pesky varmint has made your residence its own.  Once that’s taken care of, open up the doors and windows so that the air inside is safe to breathe.  You should basically figure that mold has set in.  Although mold is hazardous to anyone, it can be particularly dangerous to people who suffer from severe allergies or other respiratory issues like asthma.

Then it gets to the cleaning stage, which you have to be careful with.  Most of your food will sadly have to be thrown out if it received any contact with water.  Water and contaminants could have even seeped into canned goods, so it’s best not to take chances.  Throw out anything whose safety can’t be assured.

The same goes for things like carpeting, mattresses, and toys that could sop up water.  Even insulation and drywall need to be completely redone when the water comes into contact with it.  When it comes to those things you don’t have to throw out, you should still use soap and hot water to clean up.