Jackson County EMA & Office of Homeland Security

The First Steps

  Your home has been flooded. Although floodwaters may be down in some areas, many dangers still exist. Here are some things to remember in the days ahead.

  • Roads may still be closed because they have been damaged or are covered by water. Barricades have been placed for your protection. If you come upon a barricade or a flooded road, go another way.

  • Keep listening to the radio for news about what to do, where to go, or places to avoid.

  • Emergency workers will be assisting people in flooded areas. You can help them by staying off the roads and out of the way.

  • If you must walk or drive in areas that have been flooded

    • Stay on firm ground. Moving water only 6 inches deep can sweep you off your feet. Standing water may be electrically charged from underground or downed power lines.

    • Flooding may have caused familiar places to change. Floodwaters often erode roads and walkways. Flood debris may hide animals and broken bottles, and it's also slippery. Avoid walking or driving through it.

  • Play it safe. Additional flooding or flash floods can occur. Listen for local warnings andinformation. If your car stalls in rapidly rising waters, get out immediately and climb to higher ground.

Staying Healthy

A flood can cause emotional and physical stress. You need to look after yourself and your family as you focus on cleanup and repair.

  • Rest often and eat well.

  • Keep a manageable schedule. Make a list and do jobs one at a time.

  • Discuss your concerns with others and seek help. Contact Red Cross for information on emotional support available in your area.

Cleaning Up and Repairing Your Home

Turn off the electricity at the main breaker or fuse box, even if the power is off in your community. That way, you can decide when your home is dry enough to turn it back on.

Get a copy of the book Repairing Your Flooded Home. It will tell you:

  • How to enter your home safely.

  • How to protect your home and belongings from further damage.

  • How to record damage to support insurance claims and requests for assistance.

  • How to check for gas or water leaks and how to have service restored.

  • How to clean up appliances, furniture, floors and other belongs.

Repairing Your Flooded Home is available free from the American Red Cross or your state or local emergency manager.

Getting Help

 

  • The Red Cross can provide you with a cleanup kit: mop, broom, bucket, and cleaning supplies.

  • Contact your insurance agent to discuss claims.

  • Listen to your radio for information on assistance that may be provided by the state or federal government or other organizations.

  • If you hire cleanup or repair contractors, be sure they are qualified to do the job. Be wary of people who drive through neighborhoods offering help in cleaning up or repairing your home. Check references.\\

Information provided by FEMA.gov

Returning Home

General Tips

Don't return to your flood-damaged home before the area is declared to be safe by local officials. Returning home can be both physically and mentally challenging. Above all, use caution.

Check for injuries. Do not attempt to move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of death or further injury. If you must move an unconscious person, first stabilize the neck and back, then call for help immediately.

  • Keep a battery-powered radio with you so you can listen for emergency updates and news reports.

  • Use a battery-powered flash light to inspect a damaged home.
    Note: The flashlight should be turned on outside before entering - the battery may produce a spark that could ignite leaking gas, if present.

  • Watch out for animals, especially poisonous snakes. Use a stick to poke through debris.

  • Be wary of wildlife and other animals

  • Use the phone only to report life-threatening emergencies.

  • Stay off the streets. If you must go out, watch for fallen objects; downed electrical wires; and weakened walls, bridges, roads, and sidewalks.

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Before You Enter Your Home

Walk carefully around the outside and check for loose power lines, gas leaks, and structural damage. If you have any doubts about safety, have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before entering.

Do not enter if:

  • You smell gas.
  • Floodwaters remain around the building.
  • Your home was damaged by fire and the authorities have not declared it safe.

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Going Inside Your Home

When you go inside your home, there are certain things you should and should not do. Enter the home carefully and check for damage. Be aware of loose boards and slippery floors. The following items are other things to check inside your home:

  • Natural gas. If you smell gas or hear a hissing or blowing sound, open a window and leave immediately. Turn off the main gas valve from the outside, if you can. Call the gas company from a neighbor’s residence. If you shut off the gas supply at the main valve, you will need a professional to turn it back on. Do not smoke or use oil, gas lanterns, candles, or torches for lighting inside a damaged home until you are sure there is no leaking gas or other flammable materials present.

  • Sparks, broken or frayed wires. Check the electrical system unless you are wet, standing in water, or unsure of your safety. If possible, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If the situation is unsafe, leave the building and call for help. Do not turn on the lights until you are sure they’re safe to use. You may want to have an electrician inspect your wiring.

  • Roof, foundation, and chimney cracks. If it looks like the building may collapse, leave immediately.

  • Appliances. If appliances are wet, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. Then, unplug appliances and let them dry out. Have appliances checked by a professional before using them again. Also, have the electrical system checked by an electrician before turning the power back on.

  • Water and sewage systems. If pipes are damaged, turn off the main water valve. Check with local authorities before using any water; the water could be contaminated. Pump out wells and have the water tested by authorities before drinking. Do not flush toilets until you know that sewage lines are intact.

  • Food and other supplies. Throw out all food and other supplies that you suspect may have become contaminated or come in to contact with floodwater. Your basement. If your basement has flooded, pump it out gradually (about one third of the water per day) to avoid damage. The walls may collapse and the floor may buckle if the basement is pumped out while the surrounding ground is still waterlogged.

  • Open cabinets. Be alert for objects that may fall.

  • Clean up household chemical spills. Disinfect items that may have been contaminated by raw sewage, bacteria, or chemicals. Also clean salvageable items.

  • Call your insurance agent. Take pictures of damages. Keep good records of repair and cleaning costs.\

Information provided by Fema.gov