Senator Corman Reminds Residents of Safety After Flooding, Thanks First Responders for Efforts

HARRISBURG –Senator Jake Corman (R-34) reminds residents to be safe in the event of additional flooding in the region since the National Weather Service extended a flood warning until 8 p.m. Sunday.

“I want to thank all of the first responders who answered the many calls for help and those in the Emergency Operations Centers for their service,” said Senator Corman, who visited many of the affected areas today. “My thoughts continue to be with the people who are now assessing the damage done by the worst flooding the area has seen in a decade. As we continue with the recovery to our region, residents should remember to put safety first.”

Safety tips include: 

When re-entering/cleaning out your home:

Wear protective gear for cleanup work

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends wearing hard hats, goggles, heavy work gloves and watertight boots with steel toes and insoles (not just steel shank). Wear earplugs or protective headphones to reduce risk from equipment noise.

Prevent Mold Growth

  • Be careful when entering a flood-damaged building. Loose, wet ceiling plaster is heavy and dangerous, so knock down hanging plaster before moving around.
  • Clean up and dry out flooded buildings within 24 to 48 hours if possible. Open doors and windows and use fans to speed drying. To prevent mold growth, clean wet items and surfaces with detergent and water. To remove mold growth, wear rubber gloves, open windows and doors, and clean with a bleach solution of one cup of bleach in one gallon of water. Throw away porous items – like carpet, mattresses and upholstered furniture – that cannot be dried quickly.
  • Everything that floodwater has touched should be disinfected. Scrub down walls and any other smooth, hard surfaces with the same bleach-water solution.
  • Do not rush to move back into your home. Before a house is habitable, it must be dried and thoroughly cleaned, since floodwaters pick up sewage and chemicals as they travel. 

Food

When in doubt, throw it out! Throw away food that may have come in contact with floodwater – like:

  • Home-canned foods.
  • All foods in cardboard boxes, paper, foil, cellophane (plastic wrap) or cloth.
  • Meat, poultry, eggs or fish.
  • Spices, seasonings, extracts, flour, sugar, grain, coffee and other staples in canisters.
  • Unopened jars with waxed cardboard seals, such as mayonnaise and salad dressing. Also, throw away preserves sealed with paraffin wax.
  • Throw away any fruits and vegetables that have been in contact with floodwaters – including those that have not been harvested from gardens.
  • Wooden cutting boards, plastic utensils, baby bottle nipples and pacifiers.

You do NOT need to throw away the following items if they have been in contact with floodwater:

  • Commercially canned foods that came into contact with floodwater and have been properly cleaned by: labeling cans with the name of food in permanent marker; removing labels; washing cans in water containing detergent; soaking cans for at least one minute in chlorine solution; rinsing in clean, cool water; placing on sides to dry (do not stack cans).
  • Dishes and glassware if they are sanitized by boiling in clean water or by immersing them for 15 minutes in a solution of one teaspoon of chlorine bleach per quart of water.
  • If electricity at your home has been off for long periods of time, throw away perishable foods (like meat, poultry, fish, eggs, leftovers, etc.) that have been above 40 degrees for two hours or more. 

Flooding and electric power

  • Avoid downed utility lines and standing water because “hot wires” could exist below the water line.
  • If your home has sustained flood or water damage, and you can safely get to the main breaker or fuse box, turn off the power.
  • Do not turn off the power if you are wet or standing in water.
  • If electrical service has not been disconnected at the home, avoid standing water, again there may be some live wires below the water line.
  • Submerged fuse boxes and all of their contents should be inspected by an electrician prior to restoring power.
  • It is best to have your electric system inspected by a licensed electrician before turning it back on.

Flooding and natural gas safety

  • If your house has flooded and any of your natural gas appliances (including furnaces, boilers, water heaters and dryers) have been affected, they may not be safe to use. Contact a licensed gas technician or HVAC contractor for an inspection.
  • If you smell gas, or if flood waters have risen above your gas meter and regulator set, call 911 or your gas company immediately.

CONTACT: Jennifer Kocher (717) 787-1377