Nebraska and Iowa have recently seen unexpected and record-breaking amounts of rainfall, leaving much of their states underwater and their governments declaring a state of emergency.
Extension programs at Purdue University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have provided some essential tips to help their home states deal with floods and their immediate aftermath, and these tips can be applied to anyone who has experienced a flood or natural disaster:
How can you help your family when dealing with a natural disaster?
- Keep children informed.
- Speak simply and honestly about the situation.
- Make time to comfort and reassure your children.
- Involve children in the family’s efforts to prepare for or recover from a disaster.
- Help young children understand the disaster.
- Look for “positives”.
How can you safely enter your home following flood damage?
- Check with authorities about safely dealing with power and gas lines.
- Stay out of buildings if flood water remains because foundations may not be safe.
- Check for structural damage. Look for leaning walls, sagging roofs and ceilings, and weakened support columns. If you see any of these things, don’t enter until you’ve made some preliminary repairs.
- Air out your home for several minutes before entering, if necessary.
- Turn off the main electrical breaker, even if the power is off to the neighborhood. If the main disconnect is inside the building, call your utility company for assistance.
- Watch your well because it, too, can be flooded.
How to ensure your health isn’t affected by a flood?
- Get a tetanus shot before returning to a flooded area.
- Many insects, especially mosquitoes, thrive in wet environments. Protect yourself and your family with bug spray, especially in the weeks following the flood.
- Do not try to save food that came into contact with flood water.
- Sanitize canned food.
- Thoroughly wash all dishes and utensils.
- Use a safe chlorine disinfecting solution.
- DO NOT mix ammonia and chlorine.
How to salvage your personal items?
- Start salvage early because mold can take over within 48 hours.
- Appliances submerged in floodwater are often not repairable.
- Determine what to keep and what to throw out.
- Always wear rubber gloves and wash hands frequently when working with cleaning solutions and flood-damaged items.
- Remove photos that can be repaired from plastic or paper enclosures and frames.
For more information regarding these Universities recommendations and outreach services, visit the following resources:
Purdue University – First Steps to Flood Recovery
University of Nebraska – Lincoln, Flooding Resources
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