After the Flood

What To Do

  • Begin cleanup as soon as possible. Throw out perishable foods; they may be contaminated. Wash canned goods in soap and warm water. 
  • Do not drink water unless you know that it is safe; water sources are often contaminated during floods.
  • Never allow children to play in or near floodwaters.
  • Watch for live electrical wires. Be sure the electrical current is turned off, and do not attempt to turn on any electrically operated light or appliance until an electrician has checked your system. 
  • When it is safe to return to your home, before you enter the house, be sure that the structure is not in danger of collapsing. Watch out for rodents and snakes. 

If Power Goes Out

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission warns of dangers from generators, candles, and other products that might be used if electricity is knocked out. The commission offers these safety tips:

  • Do not use electrical appliances that have been wet. Do not turn on damaged electrical appliances because of the hazards of electric shock or fire. 
  • Exercise caution in the use of candles. Use flashlights instead. If you use candles, do not put them on or near anything that will burn. Never leave burning candles unattended. Douse candles when you leave the room.
  • Make sure the batteries in your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm are fresh. Test these alarms to make sure they are working. 
  • Never use charcoal indoors because burning charcoal gives off carbon monoxide.
  • Never use a generator indoors or in a garage. Exhaust fumes contain carbon monoxide which can be deadly if inhaled. Use a portable generator outdoors in a dry, ventilated area away from attached garages or air intakes to the house. Do not store gasoline in the basement or in an attached garage where gasoline fumes could be ignited. 
  • Plug individual appliances into the generator using heavy-duty outdoor-rated cords with a wire gauge adequate for the appliance load.