I’ve never seen so much water on the streets of Atlanta. Large portions of the city are shut down. Several people have been killed after they were swept up by raging flood waters. People are stranded in their homes and in some cases on top of their vehicles. We hope that the worst has passed, but the forecast shows rain for the rest of the week. It will take a long time for the city to recover from this storm.
Today, in light of our state’s current disaster, I’d like to focus on flood safety tips. Thousands of homes in Georgia have been flooded, and the flood waters are creating many unexpected dangers. For instance, raw sewage is flowing into the flood water from the Atlanta sewer system. The flood water is toxic.
Do not walk in the flood water if you can avoid it. Just six inches of flowing water can be powerful enough to sweep you off your feet. If you must enter the flood water, wear as much protective clothing as possible – long pants, boots, goggles, gloves, etc. Watch your step, and using a walking stick for stability. Don’t touch your face, and immediately wash with hot water and soap once you’re out of the water.
Do not attempt to drive through flood waters, even if the water looks shallow. This has been a major cause of injuries and deaths around Atlanta. Stay in a safe place until the dangerous flood waters recede. Just six inches of water is enough to cause a vehicle to lose control and possibly stall. A foot of water can lift many vehicles off the ground.
Since electricity travels through water, electrocution is another big danger in flooded areas. Stay away from downed power lines. Also be aware of possible gas leaks from damaged pipes, and watch out for animals like snakes in the water.
If your house has been flooded, do not re-enter the house until you have turned off the power. You’ll need to get an electrician to inspect the home for electrical damage. Do not attempt to use damaged electrical appliances. Electrical appliances may need to be taken apart before they fully dry out. Don’t take any chances.
After the flood, you need to eliminate any water in your home as soon as possible. If there’s a lot of standing water in your home, you’ll have to pump it out. Mold starts to grow after just a day or two, and toxic mold can cause severe health issues.
You may need to contact a local water damage restoration company. If the professionals are all booked up, or if you’re a do-it-yourselfer , you can buy flood restoration equipment and disinfectant cleaners from specialty retailers like Sylvane. Call 1-800-934-9194 for more information about restoration equipment and flood cleanup.
After you get rid of the water, you need to dry, dehumidify, clean and disinfect your home. Remove all furniture and appliances in flooded areas. Remember, flood waters carry toxic substances. If your home was flooded, then consider it contaminated. Wear protective clothing during the cleanup process. Open up doors and windows and turn on fans to help your house dry out.
Play it safe and take care of each other during these tough times. Together, we’ll get through the 2009 Atlanta flood.