After an Emergency

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After a Flood

  • Flood dangers do not end when the water begins to recede. Listen to a radio or television and don’t return home until authorities indicate it is safe to do
    so.
  • Remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance–infants, elderly people and people with disabilities.
  • Inspect foundations for cracks or other damage.
  • Stay out of buildings if flood waters remain around the building.
  • When entering buildings, use extreme caution.
  • Wear sturdy shoes and use battery-powered lanterns or flashlights when examining buildings.
  • Examine walls, floors, doors, and windows to make sure that the building is not in danger of collapsing.
  • Watch out for animals, especially poisonous snakes, that may have come into your home with the flood waters. Use a stick to poke through debris.
  • Watch for loose plaster and ceilings that could fall.
  • Take pictures of the damage–both to the house and its contents for insurance claims.
  • Look for:
    • Fire hazards
    • Broken or leaking gas lines
    • Flooded electrical circuits
    • Submerged furnaces or electrical appliances
    • Flammable or explosive materials coming from upstream
  • Throw away food–including canned goods–that has come in contact with flood waters.
  • Pump out flooded basements gradually (about one-third of the water per day) to avoid structural damage.
  • Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits, and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewage systems are health hazards.

To help prepare for a flood – see our Preparing for a Flood page.

For additional information on what to do after a flood – Public Health Information on Flooding.

Inspecting Utilities In A Damaged Home

  • Check for gas leaks–If you smell gas or hear blowing or hissing noise, open a window and quickly leave the building. Turn off the gas at the outside main valve if you can and call the gas company from a neighbor’s home. If you turn off the gas for any reason, it must be turned back on by a professional.
  • Look for electrical system damage–If you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell hot insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If you have to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician first for advice.
  • Check for sewage and water lines damage–If you suspect sewage lines are damaged avoid using the toilets and call a plumber. If water pipes are damaged, contact the water company and avoid the water from the tap. You can obtain safe water by melting ice cubes.

After a Hurricane

  • Stay tuned to local radio for information.
  • Help injured or trapped persons.
  • Give first aid where appropriate.
  • Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Call for help.
  • Return home only after authorities advise that it is safe to do so.
  • Avoid loose or dangling power lines and report them immediately to the power company, police, or fire department.
  • Enter your home with caution.
  • Beware of snakes, insects, and animals driven to higher ground by flood water.
  • Open windows and doors to ventilate and dry your home.
  • Check refrigerated foods for spoilage.
  • Take pictures of the damage, both to the house and its contents and for insurance claims.
  • Drive only if absolutely necessary and avoid flooded roads and washed-out bridges.
  • Use telephone only for emergency calls.

Inspecting Utilities In A Damaged Home

  • Check for gas leaks–If you smell gas or hear blowing or hissing noise, open a window and quickly leave the building. Turn off the gas at the outside main valve if you can and call the gas company from a neighbor’s home. If you turn off the gas for any reason, it must be turned back on by a professional.
  • Look for electrical system damage–If you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell hot insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If you have to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician first for advice.
  • Check for sewage and water lines damage–If you suspect sewage lines are damaged avoid using the toilets and call a plumber. If water pipes are damaged, contact the water company and avoid the water from the tap. You can obtain safe water by melting ice cubes.

Returning Home – After a Tornado

  • Help injured or trapped persons. Give first aid when appropriate. Don’t try to move the seriously injured unless they are in immediate danger of further injury. Call for help.
  • Turn on radio or television to get the latest emergency information.
  • Stay out of damaged buildings. Return home only when authorities say it is safe.
  • Use the telephone only for emergency calls.
  • Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches, or gasoline or other flammable liquids immediately. Leave the buildings if you smell gas or chemical fumes.
  • Take pictures of the damage–both to the house and its contents–for insurance purposes.
  • Remember to help your neighbors who may require special assistance–infants, the elderly, and people with disabilities.

Inspecting Utilities In A Damaged Home

  • Check for gas leaks–If you smell gas or hear blowing or hissing noise, open a window and quickly leave the building. Turn off the gas at the outside main valve if you can and call the gas company from a neighbor’s home. If you turn off the gas for any reason, it must be turned back on by a professional.
  • Look for electrical system damage–If you see sparks or broken or frayed wires, or if you smell hot insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If you have to step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker, call an electrician first for advice.
  • Check for sewage and water lines damage–If you suspect sewage lines are damaged avoid using the toilets and call a plumber. If water pipes are damaged, contact the water company and avoid the water from the tap. You can obtain safe water by melting ice cubes.

 

 

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