Scheduled maintenance - Thursday, July 12 at 5:00 PM EDT
We expect this update to take about an hour. Access to this website will be unavailable during this time.
After a flood, it is important to restore the area to protect your health and prevent further damage. If standing water or water damaged materials are not cleaned and dried (or removed), they can present serious long-term health risks and will allow viruses, bacteria, and mould to grow which can cause disease, trigger allergic reactions, and continue to damage materials and health long after the flood.
What are the some steps to take after a flood has occurred? Rapid drying is important to prevent mould growth. Please see the OSH Answers document “Indoor Air Quality - Moulds and Fungi” for more information.
As soon as it is possible:
1) Prepare for the clean-up. Assemble the following equipment and supplies
2) Removal of water, mud, and other debris
3) Dispose of contaminated items that cannot be dried
4) Clean and dry effected area and salvageable items
For most work in flooded areas, the following personal protective equipment are recommended:
Flood Water: Flood water may have high levels of raw sewage or other hazardous substances. Early symptoms from exposure to contaminated flood water may include upset stomach, intestinal problems, headache and other flu-like discomfort. Avoid or limit direct contact with contaminated flood water by wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment, wash hands frequency with soap and clean water, report and keep dry any cuts or open wounds, and report any symptoms of illness.
Cleaning Products: The clean-up process involves thorough washing and disinfecting of the walls, floors, closets, shelves, and contents of the house. In most cases, common household cleaning products and disinfectants are appropriate for this task. Some disinfectants and sanitizers may contain toxic substances. It is important to read and follow label instructions carefully to check for mixing. Mixing certain types of products can produce toxic fumes. Some resources will recommend cleaning with bleach. While bleach is an effective disinfectant, it must be used with care. See the OSH Answers document “Working with Household/Chlorine Bleach” for more information.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: Carbon monoxide levels can build up rapidly if certain types of combustion devices (for example, gasoline-powered generators, camp stoves and lanterns, or charcoal-burning devices) are used indoors. Do not use combustion devices designed for outdoor use indoors.
Asbestos: Elevated concentrations of airborne asbestos can occur if asbestos-containing materials present in the home are disturbed.
Lead: Disturbance or removal of materials containing lead-based paint may result in elevated concentration of lead dust in the air.