Jan 16, 2013 1:29 PM
Safety tips on returning home from the American Red Cross
· Find out if it is safe to enter your community or neighborhood. Follow the advice of your local authorities.
· Bring supplies such as flashlights, batteries, bottled water and nonperishable foods in case utilities are out.
· Understand that recovery takes time. Focus on the positive and have patience. Others will have similar frustrations.
· Beware of snakes, insects and other animals that may be in or around your home.
· Before entering your home, look outside for damaged power lines, gas lines, foundation cracks and other exterior damage. It may be too dangerous to enter the home.
· If your home was flooded, assume it is contaminated with mold. Mold increases health risks for those with asthma, allergies or other breathing conditions.
· Open doors and windows. If the house was closed more than 48 hours, let it air it out before staying inside for any length of time.
· Turn the main electrical power and water systems off until you or a professional can ensure that they are safe.
Cleaning your home
· Throw out all food, beverages and medicine exposed to flood waters and mud, including canned goods and containers with food or liquid that have been sealed shut. When in doubt, throw it out.
· Throw out items that absorb water and cannot be cleaned or disinfected (mattresses, carpeting, cosmetics, stuffed animals and baby toys).
· Remove all drywall and insulation that has been in contact with flood waters.
· Clean hard surfaces (flooring, countertops and appliances) thoroughly with hot water and soap or a detergent.