Cleaning up after a flood can be devastating to the individuals involved. Possessions are soaked through often beyond repair entire sections of lives have been washed away. Water damaged products can cause injuries, illness, and even death.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends several safety precautions to the victims of flood:
- Do not use electrical appliances that have been wet. If electrical appliances have been under water, have them dried out and reconditioned by a qualified service repairman.
- Before flipping an electrical switch or plugging in an appliance, have an electrician check the house wiring and appliance to make sure it is safe to use.
- Use a ground-fault-circuit interrupter (GFCI) to help prevent electrocutions and electric shock injuries.
- Never remove or bypass the ground pin on a three-pronged plug in order to insert it into a non-grounding outlet.
- When using a “wet-dry vacuum cleaner,” be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid electric shock.
- Never allow electrical cords to lie in water.
- To prevent a gas explosion and fire, have gas appliances inspected and cleaned after flooding, especially if they have been under water.
- If you suspect a gas leak, do not light a match, use any electrical appliances, turn lights on or off, or use the phone. These actions may produce sparks.
- Check to make sure your smoke detector is functioning.
- Never leave burning candles unattended because it can tip over and start a fire. Keep candles, matches, and lighters away from children at all times.
- Wet carpeting and other furnishings can lead to the growth of biological pollutants. Throw out water-damaged mattresses, wicker furniture, straw baskets and the like because they may contain mold and cannot be recovered. Throw out any water-damaged furnishings such as carpets, drapes, stuffed toys, upholstered furniture and ceiling tiles, unless they can be restored by steam cleaning or hot water washing and thorough drying.
- Remove and replace any wet insulation.
- Never leave any bucket of water unattended where small children may fall in. Immediately empty out buckets when finished or move them to a safe place before taking a break. In addition, keep young children away from bathtubs and other open containers used for temporary water storage.
- Never burn charcoal inside homes, tents, campers, vans, cars, trucks, garages, or mobile homes. It will give off carbon monoxide.
- Never use gasoline around ignition sources, such as cigarettes, matches, lighters, water heaters, or electric sparks. Gasoline vapors can travel and be ignited by pilot light or other ignition sources. Make sure that gasoline powered generators are away from easily combustible materials.
- Make sure that your chain saw is equipped with the low-kick-back chain and other safety features, such as a hand guard, safety tip, chain brake, vibration reducing system, spark arrestor on gasoline models, trigger throttle lockout, chain catcher, and bumper spikes to reduce the incidence of injuries. Also be sure to always wear gloves, shoes, and protective glasses.
- Make sure that you do not put infants to sleep on plastic covered mattresses or other soft surfaces, as there is a danger of suffocation. The safest place for infants to sleep is in a crib that meets government safety standards and has a firm tight-fitting mattress.
- Be sure to store any medications and chemicals that you find safely away from children.
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