Things You Should Know When Returning to Your Home After The Flood

After the tragic levee breech, residents will be returning to their home to start recovery work. “We want people to be very careful before they start sifting through the mud and muck left by the flood,” said Caroline Punches, Executive Director of the Northern Nevada Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Below are flooding safety tips of which Fernley residents should be aware.

Returning Home

-The best way to stay safe is to follow the advice of local authorities. Find out if it is safe to enter your community or neighborhood. Do not enter your home unless officials have declared that it is safe to do so.

• Check the outside of your home before you enter:

Look for loose power lines, broken or damaged gas lines, foundation cracks or other damage. See if porch roofs and overhangs still have all their supports.

If you see damage on the outside, it could indicate that your home is unsafe. Ask a building inspector or contractor to check the structure before you enter.

• Use caution entering your damaged home:

Stay out of any building if floodwater remains around the building.

Parts of your home can be collapsed or damaged – approach entrances carefully.

Wear long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, closed-toed rubber-soled shoes or boots and work gloves.

Smell for gas. If you smell natural or propane gas or hear a hissing noise, leave immediately and then call the fire department or utility company.
If there is no power, do not step in standing water because it could be electrically charged. Check to make sure the main breaker is on. If it is and there is still no power, contact the utility company.
•Take precautions during clean-up:

Keep children and pets away from hazardous sites and floodwater.

Wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and rubber boots, when cleaning homes with flood damage.

Follow public health guidance on safe cleanup of materials in contact with floodwater.

Materials such as kitchen and bathroom cleaning products, paint, batteries, contaminated fuel and damaged fuel containers are hazardous and need to be properly handled to avoid risk. Check with local authorities for assistance with disposal.

Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes, which may have come into your home with the floodwater.
•As you rebuild-

Pump water out slowly from areas of your home that are under ground, such as a basement. If you have several feet of water, do not pump all the water out at once. Pump about 1/3 of the water out every day to avoid possible pressure build-up from the outside walls. Removing the water too quickly may result in outside pressure being higher than the pressure on the inside walls, which can cause the walls and floors to crack and collapse.

Hose down the inside of the home to remove health hazards from flood water mud. Shovel out as much mud as possible.

If the water didn't get behind the walls, you can reduce the chances of mold and mildew by wiping down all surfaces that had gotten wet with a solution of one cup of liquid household bleach to a gallon of water.

•Make sure your food and water are safe:

Discard food and drinking water that has come in contact with floodwater, including canned goods, capped bottles and cartons. When in doubt, throw it out!

Discard wooden spoons, plastic utensils and baby bottle nipples and pacifiers if they have been covered by floodwater.

Watch or listen to your local news for reports on the safety of your water. Do NOT ever use water that you think may be contaminated to wash dishes, brush teeth, prepare food, wash hands, make ice or make baby formula.

If you are in doubt about the safety of your water, contact your local or state public health department for specific recommendations for boiling or treating water in your area after a disaster.

•Watch animals closely and keep them under your direct control:

Pets may come in contact with hazardous materials abound in the flooded area. Take care not to bring them to a damaged home where they can be injured as you are cleaning up.

Pets can become upset and react in unusual ways, such as spraying urine, defecating on floors or scratching/biting furnishings.

Pets may also become disoriented. Flooding often affects scent markers that normally allow them to find their homes.

•Take steps to meet physical and emotional needs:

Try to return to as many of your personal and family routines as possible.

Get rest and drink plenty of water.

Reach out and accept help from others.

Stay connected with your family and/or other support systems.

Realize that, sometimes, recovery can take time.

Contact community mental health or the American Red Cross for additional information and help.

•Be aware of power outage safety concerns:

Do not use candles for lighting if the power is out. Use flashlights only.

Carbon Monoxide-Because of the risk of CO poisoning, never operate un-vented fuel-burning appliances in any closed room or where people or animals are sleeping. Never use gas appliances such as ranges, ovens or clothes dryers for heating your home.

Never use a portable generator in an enclosed or partially enclosed space, including in your home or in a garage, basement, crawl space, or other partially enclosed area, even with ventilation. Locate a generator outdoors and away from doors, windows and vents that could allow CO to come indoors. Generators can produce high levels of deadly CO very quickly.

-Visit for more detailed information on protecting yourself and your loved ones following flooding or other disasters, as well as information on repairing your flooded home.

-The Red Cross is unable to accept small, individual donations or collections of items such as clothing, food or cleaning supplies. You can support your community by donating these items to an organization that is equipped to put them to the best possible local use. Reactive: The cost to sort, package and distribute these types of donations to disaster victims is almost always greater than the cost of purchasing the items locally, and it is logistically impossible to distribute a wide variety of individual items in a meaningful way.