What You Should Do If Your Home or Business has been Flooded

Take precautions during and after floods to protect your health and safety.

  • Avoid contact with floodwater when possible. Floodwaters may contain raw sewage or other hazardous substances.
  • Do not walk in moving water. Six inches of moving water can knock a person over.
  • Do not allow children or pets to wade in or play in floodwater.
  • Avoid driving through flooded areas and surfing or boating in floodwaters.
  • Wash your hands with soap and clean water before preparing or eating food, after participating in cleanup activities, and after handling articles contaminated by floodwater or sewage.
  • Do not expose open cuts or wounds to floodwaters. Floodwaters can cause an infection in an open wound.
  • Do not eat any food that has come in contact with floodwater.
  • Thoroughly clean and dry your feet and put on clean, dry socks every day.
  • If walking in floodwaters is necessary, wear rubber boots and change clothing that comes into contact with floodwaters as soon as possible.
  • Wash clothes contaminated with flood or sewage water in hot water and detergent and separately from uncontaminated clothes and linens.
  • Conserve water whenever possible to minimize sewage overflow.
  • Check for any Boil Water Advisories that may be enacted.
  • Make sure any important medical documents are in waterproof containers.

Re-entering your home or business

When returning to an area that has been flooded, be aware that it may hold any number of contaminates, such as mold or sewage. When re-entering your home or business:

  • If you still have standing water, turn off the main power from a dry location.
  • If accessing the main power switch means entering standing water, call an electrician to have it turned off. Never turn power on or off yourself or use an electric tool or appliance while standing in water.
  • Have an electrician check the electrical system before turning the power on again.
  • If the house or business has been closed for several days due to flooding, assume it has poor air quality and has been contaminated with mold, sewage, and other hazardous materials. Enter briefly to open doors and windows, allowing fresh air circulate. Let it air out for at least 30 minutes before you re-enter and stay for any length of time.
  • Remove wet carpets, furniture or bedding as soon as possible. To avoid mold growth, dry out any flooded areas within 48 hours.