Be careful keeping water out. When protecting your home, be aware that the pressure of 2 or 3 feet of water pushing against your foundation can cause the foundation to collapse inward, and this has happened locally numerous times over the years. While concrete-poured foundations generally seem to hold up better than block, it really depends on how much steel was put into it and looks may be deceiving. Only you can decide if the pressure is getting to be too much. Many people will purposely flood their lower levels with clean water to equalize the pressure, yet keep the majority of the nasty water outside the walls.
Do not walk through flowing water. Drowning is the number one cause of flood deaths. Currents can be deceptive; six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet. Use a pole or stick to ensure that the ground is still there before you go through an area where the water is not flowing.
Do not drive through a flooded area. More people drown in their cars than anywhere else. Don't drive around road barriers; the road or bridge may be washed out.
Stay away from power lines and electrical wires. The number two flood killer after drowning is electrocution. Electrical current can travel through water. Report downed power lines to Mid-American Energy at 800-799-4443.
Turn off your electricity. If you don't feel safe doing this, call an electrician. Some appliances, such as televisions, can shock you even after they have been unplugged. Don't use appliances or motors that have gotten wet unless they have been taken apart, cleaned, dried and inspected by a professional.
Watch for animals. Critters' homes are flooded, too. They are also having to hunt for higher ground and your house, porch, deck or steps may be occupied by rodents, snakes or raccoons.
Look before you step. After a flood, the ground and floors are covered with debris including broken bottles and nails. Floors and stairs that have been covered with mud can be very slippery. Keep a flashlight in your car so if the power is cut when you get home you can watch where you step. Also- After a flood, the ground and floors are covered with debris including broken bottles and nails. Floors and stairs that have been covered with mud can be very slippery.
Be alert for gas leaks. Use a flashlight to inspect for damage. Don't smoke or use candles, lanterns, or open flames, unless you know the gas has been turned off and the area has been ventilated. If you smell a gas leak call Mid-American Energy at 800-595-5325.
Carbon monoxide exhaust kills. Use a generator or other gasoline-powered machine outdoors. The same goes for camping stoves. Charcoal fumes are especially deadly - cook with charcoal outdoors.
Clean everything that got wet. Floodwaters have picked up sewage and chemicals from roads, farms, factories, and storage buildings. Spoiled food, flooded cosmetics, and medicine can be health hazards. When in doubt, throw them out.
Take good care of yourself. Recovering from a flood is a big job. It is tough on both the body and the spirit and the effects a disaster has on you and your family may last a long time. Keep your eyes open for signs of anxiety, stress, and fatigue in you and your family.