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After the flood: cleanup hazards





SOUTH DAKOTA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 08, 2011
CONTACT: Bill Chalcraft, 773-3361
 
After the flood: cleanup hazards
PIERRE, S.D. – The Department of Health reminds South Dakotans involved in flood cleanup to be aware of possible hazards and take steps to protect themselves.
  •          Check for leaking gas pipes. If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve at the meter, open all windows, leave the house and call the gas company. Do not re-enter the house until you are told it is safe.
  •          If water has been present near electrical circuits or electrical equipment, turn off the power at the main breaker or fuse on the service panel. Do not turn the power back on until electrical equipment has been inspected by a qualified electrician.
  •          Scrub flooded indoor areas with warm soapy water, particularly food-contact surfaces (counter tops, pantry shelves, etc.) and areas where children play. Rinse with a solution of ½ cup (4 ounces) laundry bleach for each gallon of water.
  •          If there has been sewage backflow into the house, remove and throw out wall coverings, cloth, rugs, sheetrock and other absorbent materials. Wear rubber boots and waterproof gloves during the cleanup. Clean and mop the area, treat with disinfectant and dehumidify.
  •          Watch for solvents, aerosol cans and industrial chemicals the floodwaters might have moved from their normal storage place.
  •          Do not use gas- or diesel-powered pumps, generators, or pressure washers inside as they release carbon monoxide, a deadly but colorless and odorless gas. It is virtually impossible to assure adequate ventilation.
Reduce your risk of injury and illness during this difficult time by setting priorities for cleanup tasks and pacing the work out over days or even weeks. Get plenty of rest and take frequent rest breaks BEFORE exhaustion builds up.
More information on flood cleanup is available at http://disasterrecovery.sd.gov.
Effectively managing public health emergencies is a key objective of the department’s Health 2020 initiative.
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