After a flood

What to do After a Flood

Do not visit disaster areas, unless you are authorized to do so.

If you have flood insurance, notify your agent that you have a loss.

Tune in to radio and television for advice and instructions on where to obtain medical care and where to get assistance for such necessities as housing, clothes, food and other assistance. Outreach programs will help you cope with the stress of being flooded.

Do not enter your home if flood waters are over the first floor; you cannot tell whether the building is safe to enter.

Use battery-powered lanterns or flashlights (not oil or gas lanterns or torches) to examine buildings. Do not create any sparks or open flames, as they could trigger an explosion! If in doubt, all the gas company or 911 for assistance.

Flooding may have swollen doors tight. When the entrance must be forced because of swollen doors, accumulated mud or bulged floors, try to enter through a window or other opening.

Check with local emergency management authorities before using any water. Water sources may have been contaminated by the flood. Wells should be pumped out and the water tested by authorities before drinking.

Do not consume food that has come into contact with flood waters

Stay out of flood waters and wash any skin and clothing that has come in contact with flood waters as soon as possible.

Flood waters may contain pesticides, petroleum products, and other potentially hazardous contaminants.

Children and pets should not be allowed to swim in flood waters.

Do not handle live electrical equipment in wet areas. Have an expert check all equipment before returning it to service.

Ask the gas company to check your home for leaks and to turn the gas back on.

If your basement has flooded, pump it out gradually (about one-third of the water per day) to avoid damage. The walls may collapse and the floor may buckle if the basement is pumped out while the surrounding ground is still water-logged.

Report broken utilities lines to authorities. Treat all downed wire lines as if they are activated.

Watch our for poisonous snakes in previously flooded areas.