Returning home after a flood
Posted at: 02/24/2012 7:40 AM
Proper planning for flood emergencies can reduce stress and anxiety during evacuation procedures, prepare you and your family to remain healthy and safe, and make it easier for emergency response teams to help. But when it’s all over with, transitioning back to a home that has been damaged by flooding can be just as daunting a task. Preparing to return home after evacuating will keep you safer while inspecting and cleaning up the damage to your home.
“Returning home after a flood is a scary and very serious thought to consider,” said Leighton Jones, Director of Disaster and Emergency Services for the American Red Cross of the Finger Lakes NY Region. “Because the damage that can be caused and clean up work that ensues, returning home is often very overwhelming for families.”
Tips for returning home after a flood
• Carry plenty of cash; ATMs may not work and stores may not be able to accept credit or debit cards.
• Bring supplies such as flashlights, batteries, bottled water, and nonperishable food in case utilities are out.
• Plan for delays when traveling. Bring extra food, water, pillows, blankets, and other items that will make the trip more comfortable. Keep the fuel tank of your vehicle as full as possible in case gas stations are crowded, out of fuel, or closed.
• Be aware of snakes, insects, and other animals that may be in or around your home.
• Before entering your home, look outside for damaged power lines, gas lines, foundation cracks and other exterior damage. It may be too dangerous to enter the home.
• Open doors and windows. If the house was closed more than 48 hours, let it air out before staying inside for any length of time.
• Turn the main electrical power and water systems off until you or a professional can ensure that they are safe.
Cleaning your home
• Throw out all food, beverages and medicine exposed to flood waters and mud, including canned goods and containers with food or liquid that have been sealed shut. When in doubt, throw it out.
• Throw out items that absorb water and cannot be cleaned or disinfected (mattresses, carpeting, cosmetics, stuffed animals, and baby toys).
• Remove all drywall and insulation that has been in contact with flood waters.
Understand that recovery takes time. Focus on the positive and have patience. Others will have similar frustrations. As progress is made cleaning your home after a flood, try to return to as many family routines as possible. Visit redcross.org to find detailed flood preparedness checklists.
The American Red Cross, Greater Rochester Chapter needs your help!
Help us by nominating a friend, co-worker or family member that has performed a heroic act: an ordinary citizen, an emergency responder, a family pet, someone who helped support the Red Cross blood program, or a veteran or member of the military—working “under the radar” because for them, it is the right thing to do.
These are our Hometown Heroes—let’s take this opportunity to thank them for their selfless deeds and nominate them for special recognition. Nominations will be reviewed by a volunteer judging panel and award winners will be honored at the Red Cross Festival on June 16, 2012.
Please review the enclosed nomination form and festival overview. For more information about the Red Cross Festival or to fill out your nomination online, visit rochesterredcross.org/festival.aspx.