Friday, April 27, 2018

Be aware of flooding dangers

Most of the time, brief bouts of spring and summer rain are a welcome break. After all, plants, animals and humans all need water to survive.

By Joe Center Media
But with too much rain comes flooding, which can be a huge problem. A sudden buildup of fast-flowing water can be dangerous for many reasons, with drowning the biggest concern. More than 125 people died from flooding in the U.S. in 2016, so it’s important to take caution and never drive or walk through floodwaters.

What’s in floodwaters can also be harmful to your health. Chemicals, sewage and other dangers can be present. When dealing with floodwater, wear protective clothing like masks, rubber gloves and boots. If you have a cut or rash, keep it covered with a waterproof bandage. Clean your skin well with soap and water.

The dangers don’t end when floodwaters recede. That’s because flooding can leave behind pools of water. These are perfect places for mosquitoes to lay their eggs. Empty and scrub things that hold water in your yard or neighborhood, such as buckets, planters, toys, birdbaths and trash containers. If you have water that can’t be dumped, consider using mosquito larvicide.

Floodwater in homes can also lead to mold. Mold can cause breathing problems, especially in kids and seniors. To protect yourself, clean and dry your home as soon as you can. Air out buildings by opening windows and running fans. Clean surfaces with hot water and soap. Throw away wet food, medicine or anything else you can’t clean or dry quickly. Remember the rule: When in doubt, throw it out!

Clean up any mold you find with a mix of bleach and water. Again, make sure you have protection, such as gloves, boots and masks.

It’s also a good idea to make sure that your home is ready for flooding year-round. A good first step is to buy flood insurance. Next, put together an evacuation plan and discuss it with your family. Make sure you’re stocked up on food and supplies and have them ready to go if you need to evacuate.

By being ready for flooding before and after a storm, you can make sure you and your home stay safe and healthy. Check out our Get Ready fact sheet for more tips.

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