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Call 911 for police or emergency officials to:
- Rescue injured or endangered residents, remove victims,
- Attend to downed electric wires, power outages.
- Contain and extinguish fires.
- Prevent looting.
Keep safe during clean-up:
- Use proper protection and get help from professionals to
clean up damaged trees and debris.
- Account for all hazardous materials and chemicals.
- Keep a portable radio nearby to monitor weather bulletins.
- Don’t smoke, or use flame or sparking devices for clean-up
until you’re sure there are no natural gas leaks in the area.
- Assemble a basic first aid kit to treat minor injuries that may
occur during clean-up. The kit should contain bandages,
clean wipes, antibiotic ointment and a tweezers.
- Practice good hygiene. Wash hands with soap and hot water.
- If you get a puncture wound during clean-up activities (or at any other time),
you may require a tetanus-diphtheria (Td) booster shot. These are recommended
every 10 years.
Dress safely for clean-up:
- Wear coveralls or heavy pants and long-sleeved shirts.
- Use heavy work gloves or leather gloves.
- Wear durable work boots with intact soles and steel toes, if
possible. DO NOT wear sneakers or open-toed shoes!
- When using tools, wear approved impact-resistant safety
glasses. Power tools require additional protection.
- Wear rubber gloves when using chemical cleaning solutions.
Protect yourself from wood and glass splinters during clean-up:
- Assume tiny, almost invisible glass splinters are hiding everywhere.
- Always wear shoes or heavily soled slippers when walking over carpeted floors.
- Do not let children crawl or play on carpeting.
- Sit on wooden chairs only. Upholstered chairs and sofas
may contain hidden pieces of glass.
- Check inside kitchen and bathroom cupboards for tiny glass
splinters. Do not use bath towels or medications until you
are sure all are safe from small glass chips. Check for glass
and other debris in spices, flour, sugar, breakfast cereal, and
other food items.
- Be careful about glass and wooden splinters that may be
inside dresser drawers and even within books.
Clean up as many household furnishings as you can:
- Take pictures of damage for insurance claims.
- After cleaning furniture, allow it to dry indoors. Furniture
left in the sunlight to dry will warp and twist out of shape.
- Use caution if using any electric dryers around wet items.
- To remove white spots that may develop on damp furniture, rub a damp cloth
dipped in turpentine (or camphorated oil) or in a solution of 1/2 cup household
ammonia and 1/2 cup water. Wipe dry and polish with wax or furniture polish.
Dry soaked bedding, papers and books:
- Wash soaked bedding with bleach as soon as possible.
- Contact a mattress renovation company to see if soaked mattresses can be saved. Often, they cannot.
- Water-soaked pillows need to be replaced because they are
almost certain to carry dangerous bacteria or molds.
- Spread and air dry individual papers. Press flat with a warm
iron or flatten under weights.
- Stand books on end to air dry. Put paper towels between every 30 pages to wick
out water. Change towels frequently. If you can’t attend to soaked books immediately,
freeze them in a plastic bag.
Dry carpets and rugs:
- Carpets and rugs require professional care to prevent mildew. Move carpets outdoors,
rinse immediately and send to a professional cleaner. Only expensive rugs
may be worth saving after soil or sewage contamination.
- If only small areas of the carpet are wet, pull up and prop the wet carpet to dry.
Cut away wet padding. To discourage mildew and odors, rinse the carpet backing
with a solution of 2 tablespoons bleach to 1 gallon water. (DO NOT use this solution
on wool carpets.) Also, disinfect the slab or subfloor.
- Wet carpet underpads cannot be saved.
Disinfect dishes, cookware and utensils:
- Kitchen items can be easily contaminated. Take apart any item that
can be cleaned in pieces. If possible, remove handles from pots.
- Wash dishes in dishwasher on a hot water cycle of at least 10°F.
- Hand wash all items in a strong detergent solution. Use a
brush to remove dirt. Rinse in hot water.
- Immerse glass, china, plastic dinnerware and enamelware for
10 minutes in a disinfecting solution of 2 tablespoons of chlorine bleach per gallon
of hot water.
- Disinfect silverware, metal utensils, and pots and pans by boiling in water for 10
minutes. Chlorine bleach should not be used on utensils because it reacts with
many metals and causes them to darken.
- Air dry dishes. Do not use a towel.
- Discard and replace soft, porous plastic or wood items contaminated by dirty water,
since they cannot be sanitized. This includes baby bottles, nipples and pacifiers.
Clean up glass splinters:
- Upholstered chairs, sofas, mattresses, pillows, blankets, quilts, carpeting, rugs
and draperies may contain splinters of glass and need to be replaced.
- Discard canned foods with broken seams. When in doubt about any food item,
- Wear a dust mask. Glass, including fiberglass insulation, can injure unprotected
- Wear sturdy rubber gloves for cleaning storm-damaged
Prevent mold and mildew:
- Clean and thoroughly dry wet carpeting, upholstery, clothing
and other household items promptly.
- If you have water in your basement, remove as much furniture,
carpeting, storage boxes and appliances as possible.
- Remove standing water promptly and use a disinfectant or light chlorine bleach
solution to scrub walls, paneling and sheetrock.
- Use fans to circulate basement air, run humidifiers to remove excess moisture
in the air, and use your fireplace or some other means to heat the basement to
discourage mildew growth.
- Spores from molds and mildew may be dangerous to your health so take
precautions when working with items that smell musty or are filled with mildew.
Full PDF Version (344 K PDF)
See the related program: Extreme Weather Flood & Water.
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