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Cleaning up after flood takes special care; MU Extension has free cleanup guide


Eileen Yager
MU Extension Web Publishing Team
Phone: 573-882-0604

Published: Monday, July 7, 2008

Story source:

Eric Evans, 573-884-8984, 573-999-4207 (cell)

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Families returning to their flooded homes should exercise caution before and during the cleanup process, according to a University of Missouri Extension emergency management expert.

"There are several dangers that people need to keep in mind when dealing with any structure that has been flooded," said Eric Evans, community emergency management specialist. "Before you even enter the building, make sure it looks structurally sound.

"Next, make sure that the electricity is off to avoid the risk of electrocution, and that the gas has been shut off," Evans said.

Because flood waters contain contaminants and debris, people need to take health precautions, he said.

"Be sure you're up to date on your tetanus shot," he said. Individuals can contact their local health department for more information.

People also should wear sturdy shoes or boots and gloves when handling flood-contaminated materials. "Wash your hands and face, or use a hand sanitizer often," he said.

Cleaning up after a flood requires special procedures to decontaminate damaged items. MU Extension has a step-by-step guide to cleaning flood-damaged homes. The publication, which is free of charge, covers electrical systems, repairing walls, cleaning furniture, flooring and floor coverings, bedding, kitchen items and controlling mold and mildew.

The guide also includes financial advice, including filing insurance claims, avoiding fraud and hiring a contractor.

In addition, there is advice on coping with stress brought on by flooding.

Copies of "Resources for Your Flooded Home" are available at MU Extension offices, disaster recovery centers and online at