“Of course, a flood is dangerous while it’s occurring, but after the initial event, there are still plenty of hazards that can cause serious injury,” said Gina Peek, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension housing and consumer specialist.
Since roads may be closed or damaged, be cautious when walking or driving in affected areas.
“Roads may be washed out or weakened and it may be hard to distinguish where roads end and ditches begin,” Peek said. “Don’t ignore or drive around police barricades and avoid moving water.”
For your safety, wait until authorities have given the all-clear before approaching your home or any property that has been damaged in a flood. When cleaning up debris, wear clothes that protect your arms, legs, feet and hands, including gloves, to avoid skin contact, irritation or infection.
Before entering a flood-damaged structure, be sure there are no live power lines in or around the house, and turn off any outside gas lines and let the structure ventilate for several minutes. Never turn the gas back on yourself. Call your gas company for help.
“Begin by checking the foundation, walls, windows and floors for damage,” Peek said. “If your basement or crawlspace is flooded, try to pump out about one-third of the water each day.”
Discard items that cannot be salvaged. Any flooded appliances should be taken to a qualified service repair center.
When it comes to water and food, be careful. For example, a flooded well needs to be disinfected. Similarly, any food that has been in contact with flood water, should be discarded.
For more information, contact your county Extension office and visit www.ready.gov.
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