DENVER – Returning home after an event such as the floods that recently swept through Colorado, residents should remember that just because the worst of the storm has passed, the dangers lurking in their home may still remain.
As Coloradans return home, it is important to practice safety. One of the first steps survivors can take is to make a cleanup kit. The cleanup kit should contain gloves, bleach, sponges, trash bags and other items. For an example of what to place in a cleanup kit, visit Church World Services at http://www.cwsglobal.org/get-involved/kits/emergency-clean-up-buckets.html.
Before entering their homes, Coloradans should check several things. They should make sure the power is turned off from a dry location. If the electricity cannot be turned off without standing in water, call an electrician. Have an electrician check the power before turning the power back on. For more information on safely accessing a flooded home, visit www.CORecovers.info and click on Public Health in the left column.
A gas leak or carbon monoxide inhalation may cause health problems for those who are cleaning a flooded home. Information about your utilities in a flooded home can be found at the National Safety Council’s website, http://www.nsc.org/news_resources/Resources/Documents/Utilities_and_Structure_Safety_After_a_Flood.pdf.
Water that has entered a home may cause mold. Just 24-48 hours of water exposure can lead to mold contamination on surfaces. For more information on cleaning mold and the health hazards of mold, visit the FEMA website at http://www.fema.gov/pdf/rebuild/recover/fema_mold_brochure_english.pdf
Additional resources to help survivors as they return home can be found at Colorado State’s Extension Service, http://www.floodsafety.com/media/pdfs/cleanup/Cleanup_after_flood.pdf.