For immediate release
For more information contact: Jeanette Budding 641-236-2590
Cleaning Up after Flood Water
Grinnell Regional Public Health announced that because Poweshiek County has been declared a disaster area, the state will provide Flood Clean Up Kits for residents at no charge.
Clean up kits are available by calling Grinnell Regional Public Health at 641-236-2385. In addition, the public health office offers tetanus vaccinations.
The county public health also released cautions and recommendations for cleaning after the recent flood damage in the county, provided by the Iowa Department of Public Health. For a full list of preventive tips and cleaning recommendations from Iowa Department of Public Health, go to http://www.idph.state.ia.us/EmergencyResponse/Flooding.aspx.
“We emphasize safety in the clean up process following a natural disaster such as the intense rain of the Memorial Day weekend,” says Patty Hinrichs, Grinnell Regional Public Health director. “Key priorities are safety to prevent mold formation, safety with electricity, and prevention of disease with current tetanus vaccination.”
When first re-entering a home after flooding, never turn on or turn off power yourself. Avoid electrocution. Call your power company or an electrician to disconnect the power from the outside.
Dry out your house as soon as possible. Use wet-dry vacuum, fans, and dehumidifiers to remove excess moisture. Have your home heating, ventilating and air-condition system check and cleaned by a professional before you turn it on to avoid spreading mold throughout the home.
To help prevent mold and mildew growth as well as decrease the changes of possible bacterial infection, clothing contaminated by flood water should be cleaned as soon as possible. Clothing and linen can be saved if it is washable. Contaminated clothing
should be washed separately from uncontaminated clothing. Use hot water, heavy-duty detergent and bleach, to combat any bacterial contamination. For colored clothing, use color safe bleach. If items cannot be washed properly, throw it away.
To clean items that are solid and not absorbing water, such as concrete, tile, and vinyl flooring, plastics, use a mild household detergent solution to clean them.
To clean small porous items (items that will absorb water) such as bedding, clothing, stuffed animals, residents should pre-soak in cold water before machine washing to remove mud. Then wash in hot water and detergent in washing machine. Add chlorine bleach to wash water. Tumble dry in a dryer or hang to dry in the sun.
Large porous items such as upholstered furniture, mattresses, wall-to-wall carpeting, that have been soaked by the flood must be discarded.
“The key to remember is if in doubt, throw it out. The risk of bacterial diseases from flood water can linger on surfaces if not cleaned thoroughly. Take careful precautions to avoid making yourself or family members ill,” Hinrichs says.
For information on clean up kits, vaccinations, or public health concerns, call Grinnell Regional Public Health at 641-236-2385.
For information on emergency response, call the Poweshiek County Emergency Management Agency at 641-623-4357.