Living in an area impacted by a flood can be a traumatic event, made even wore if you’re not prepared. In light of potential flooding at any moment, here are some tips on what to do when you’re cleaning up after a flood, specifically what to do to clean up.
The first step is being prepared. The FDA recommends having liquid, household bleach on hand (why will become apparent in a minute) and storing a supply of food, water, and medicine on shelves that will be safely out of harm’s way in the case of flooding.
You’ll also want to know where you can acquire dry ice if you need it, and what to do in case of a power outage. You’ll also want to have a few days of ready-to-eat foods on hand that don’t require cooking or cooling.
After a flood, try to drink only bottled water if you can. If you can’t get bottled water, then you can boil water for one minute to make it drinkable. If you can’t boil, then the FDA says “drinking water can be made by adding 1/8 teaspoon (or 8 drops) of unscented household (5.25% concentration) liquid bleach to 1-gallon water. Stir it well and let it stand for 30 minutes before using. (If the water is cloudy, filter it through clean cloths or allow it to settle, and draw off the clear water before adding bleach.)”
That bleach will also come into play when it comes to cleanup. The FDA recommends that you “thoroughly wash, rinse, and sanitise (using a solution of 1 tablespoon unscented household (5.25% concentration) bleach in 4l of water) all metal pans, dishes, utensils (including can openers), and countertops.”
You’ll also want to clean any canned goods that have been exposed to flood waters. The FDA says “all-metal, non-damaged canned food can be used if the cans are cleaned, rinsed, and sanitised in a solution of 1 cup (226.80g/250 mL) of unscented household (5.25% concentration) bleach in 19l of water for 15 minutes. Labels should be removed prior to cleaning, and the cans should be relabeled afterwards.”
And use your best judgment. If something looks unsafe, don’t risk it.