Here are some safety tips on cleaning up after flooding

Be on the lookout for critters that might have been driven from their homes

Flooding in the Creeds section of Virginia Beach (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of the Virginia Beach Fire Department)
Flooding in the Creeds section of Virginia Beach (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of the Virginia Beach Fire Department)

VIRGINIA BEACH — After your home or property has fallen victim to floodwaters, there’s a lot of work to do cleaning up and making repairs.

But all of the work should be done carefully and safely, said Erin Sutton, director of Emergency Management for the city.

“If anyone needs assistance they can contact 311 in the City of Virginia Beach,” she said, and recommended a few good online resources. The National Flood Insurance Program is a good place to start, she said, adding that residents should also be on the lookout for snakes – who may have also been forced from their homes by high water.

But for getting into the home and starting the clean-up process, the American Red Cross provides some good information:

  • Before entering a home make sure to check for downed power lines, damaged gas lines, and damage to the foundation of the home;
  • If you smell natural gas or propane, leave the home immediately and call the fire department;
  • It may be necessary to turn off the electricity (never touch the breaker box if you are standing in water);
  • Open doors and windows to help clear the air and begin the drying out process;
  • Don’t plug in or power up appliances that may have gotten wet or may still be wet;
  • Wear gloves and boots. Furniture that was exposed to water may be heavier, so lift carefully. Dispose of any food, drinks, or medicine that might have come into contact with floodwaters, since they could be contaminated.
Flooding in the Creeds section of Virginia Beach (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of the Virginia Beach Fire Department)
Flooding in the Creeds section of Virginia Beach (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of the Virginia Beach Fire Department)

One of the biggest issues following flooding can be mold. Hard surfaces can be cleaned with hot, soapy water or the appropriate bleach-water mix. Drywall and insulation may need to be removed, depending on the level of damage.

The Virginia Department of Health also offers some guidance for cleaning up after a storm, as does the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

RELATED STORY: Floodwaters bring dangers in and out of the home

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