HAVE WATER DAMAGE OR A FLOOD IN YOUR HOME?
KNOW THE HAZARDS OF A FLOOD
Health and Safety Risks of Entering Flooded Buildings
Going Back Inside and Being Safe:
A building that has been damaged by rising floodwater is likely to be a dangerous place. You will be taking some risks when you go into a flooded building to salvage your belongings, to clean or just to look. This is a description of what some of those safety and health risks are, and a guide for reducing your risk. This information will help you decide whether or not you should enter a flooded building.
If you are going to enter a flooded building, particularly for cleaning, use this protective equipment: rubber or hard-soled boots, rubber gloves, a N-95 disposable dust mask, and a hard hat and safety glasses for overhead work.
The greatest threat you are likely to face in a flooded home is injury. Among other hazards, there may bioelectrical hazards, structural hazards, hazardous materials, and risk of injury to your hands, back, knees or shoulders. Children should not be allowed in homes that are being inspected or repaired.
If water has come in contact with electrical circuits, and especially if the water rose above the electrical outlets, turn off power at the main breaker or fuse on the service panel. Do not turn power back on until electrical equipment has been repaired and inspected by a qualified electrician. Check with your county building inspector.
Do not enter flooded areas or wet buildings if the power is on.
Never assume that water-damaged structures are safe. You can not be sure that a building is stable until an engineer or building inspector has inspected it. Leave immediately if shifting or unusual noises signal a possible collapse of the building.
Household Hazardous Materials
Floodwaters can cause containers of hazardous materials such as pesticides, fuel or gasoline to spill indoors. If there is a noticeable chemical odor and/or a spilled container indoors, contact your local health department or fire department for help.
Avoid skin contact with contaminated materials or contaminated water and keep the area well ventilated or, even better, play it safe and leave.
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