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6 Important Flood Safety Tips Everyone Should Know

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019

In the U.S., more people are killed every year due to floods than the total of all deaths from hurricanes, tornadoes and lightning. Flooding is statistically the most common natural disaster and no locale is totally immune from the potential danger. Because the right time to familiarize yourself with the hazards and make plans to stay safe is before disaster strikes, here are six flood safety tips:

  • Know the risks. Find out if you live in a flood-prone zone. FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) provides online flood risk maps for most communities in the U.S. With this information, you can estimate the risk of flooding from local sources and plan evacuation routes if the need ever arises. 
  • Keep informed. If conditions that may trigger flooding occur—such as severe storms or an overflowing river—monitor local radio broadcasts for updates. Keep all occupants of the house informed of the threat and prepared to evacuate, if necessary.
  • Leave if you are advised to. If evacuation is recommended by authorities, leave your home, ASAP.  Staying put in the house will do nothing to prevent the damage if flooding strikes and only exposes occupants to increased dangers.  
  • Stay out of moving water. Don’t walk or wade into moving floodwater during evacuation. Just six inches of water with typical flood current can knock you off your feet. If you encounter flooded roads while driving, stop, turn around or back up, and take a different route.  
  • Don’t come home until it’s safe. Monitor radio broadcasts for updates that indicate it’s safe to return. Flash floods are often a delayed effect that occurs following severe weather events. Just because it stops raining and the sun is out, don’t assume the threat is over.
  • Be aware of dangers at home. If you return to a flooded or wet home, don’t enter the house if electrical power is still active. Contact an electrician to disconnect utility power at the meter. Floodwater is toxic, so avoid direct skin contact. Snakes and other vermin may also be present in a flooded structure.

Cleaning up a Flooded Home: Safety Precautions to Take

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

cleaning up a flooded homeAfter the waters recede and the immediate threat passes, cleaning up a flooded home still presents a variety of hazards. Your familiar household premises can turn into a danger zone when water is added, no matter where the water originated. First and foremost, if widespread flooding necessitated evacuation, always wait until you get the green light from local authorities before attempting to return to your house. Then, stay safe by observing these cautionary rules for cleaning up a flooded home.

Turn Off The Electricity

If the main power panel is in a wet or flooded area, don’t attempt to access it. Have an electrician disconnect power outside at the meter. Even if grid power is out in the entire area, you still need to shut off electricity at your house because power may be unexpectedly restored at any moment.

Shut Off The Gas

Burner flames in stoves, furnaces, or water heaters may have been extinguished by flooding, but flammable natural gas may still be flowing. This presents an explosion hazard and inhalation dangers. Turn off the gas valve at the outside meter, or call the gas company to have them do so.

Be Aware Of Structural Hazards

Saturated building materials become very heavy, and may collapse without warning. Look out for bulging, water-logged drywall or ceilings that are sagging due to absorbed water.

Protect Yourself From Biohazards

Floodwater may contain raw sewage and other toxins. Wear gloves, eye protection, face masks, and work boots to minimize contact with tainted water. Don’t wade into or immerse yourself in standing water. Always wash your hands before eating or drinking. Assume that any items such as eating utensils or cookware that have contacted floodwater are contaminated, and sterilize them before use.

Get Professional Help

If you have deep standing water in the house, contact water damage professionals with specialized equipment to remove it safely. DIY methods like consumer-grade pumps can be ineffective, and can present the risk of electrical shock. Generators needed to power such equipment also present carbon monoxide hazards.

For more safety precautions when cleaning up flooded homes, contact Rytech, Inc.