After this week, West Virginia’s had enough rain. All this water had me wondering if God was trying to re-enact the Great Flood. Fortunately for us, that wasn’t the case, but it rained enough to cause some serious damage. As a result of the rain, many people in the county were left without power and a big mess. If you’re one of these people, I have a few tips to help with the aftermath of the flood.
In disaster situations involving flooding, it’s important that you keep your family and pets out of the water. Flood water can pose various risks such as: infectious diseases, chemical hazards and injury. Avoid these risks by staying out of flood water as much as possible. Also, avoid driving through flood waters. According to Ready.gov, as little as one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
If flood water came inside and made itself at home, remove and discard any items that can't be disinfected such as: furniture, mattresses, and carpeting. Anything that can be washed and/or sanitized can be kept. All hard surfaces such as: flooring, concrete, molding, or wood should be thoroughly cleaned with hot water and soap (CDC). Make sure you protect yourself when cleaning or deposing of disinfected objects with gloves, goggles, and waterproof shoes.
Unfortunately, you might have to clean out your pantry too. Any food that has been potentially exposed to flood water may pose a threat to your health and should be thrown away. If you lose power, go through your perishable food items. Perishable items that have been stored at a temperature greater than 41 for longer than 2 hours should be discarded. Canned foods without dents, split seams, or leaks may be kept. Save your cans by removing the label and thoroughly disinfecting the outside of the can. Don’t forget to relabel afterwards so you don’t forget what’s inside!
If you have a mess outside and need help cleaning up, WV VOAD and Crisis Cleanup are here to help. To register your home for cleanup of mud or debris, contact 800-451-1954 or 844-WVFLOOD or go online to www.crisiscleanup.org. These numbers can also be used for volunteer organizations to find locations where they are needed.
If you’d like more information regarding flooding or how to respond in disaster situations, contact our Threat Preparedness Coordinator, Shawn Thorn at 304-265-1288 or visit our website at www.GTCHDWV.org.