DETROIT - Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano has declared a state of emergency after flood waters swamped the area.
The Wayne County Department of Public Health has released recommended safety guidelines for people to use when cleaning out flood waters.
- When inside a flooded basement or building, wear protective gear such as gloves, goggles and boots.
- Hose down the inside of the basement/structure to remove health hazards from possible flood water mud. Shovel out as much mud as possible. Quickly remove the water you use during this cleaning.
- Clean and dry out basement or structure thoroughly within 24 to 48 hours after flooding to help prevent the growth of mold. Help the drying process by using fans, air conditioning units and dehumidifiers.
- If flood water did not get behind the structure's walls, you can reduce the chances of mold and mildew formation in basements and homes by wiping down all flood water-affected surfaces. Use a solution of one cup of liquid household bleach to a gallon of water.
- Never turn power on or off or use an electrical tool or appliance while standing in water.
- Throw away any food that has come in contact with flood waters and dented or damaged canned goods that may have become contaminated.
- Replace any drywall and insulation that has been soaked by flood waters.
- Remove and discard carpeting, rugs, drywall, mattresses, furniture and other items that cannot be washed and disinfected if it is believed that they came in contact with flood water mixed with
- When cleaning, never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners. Mixing bleach or ammonia or other cleaning products can produce dangerous, toxic fumes causing serious
injury or even death. Keep windows and doors open to provide fresh air for ventilation during the cleaning process.
- Keep children and pets out of work area. Do not eat, drink, chew gum, or smoke while cleaning.
- Wash cleaning clothes in hot water and detergent separately from family laundry.
- In the weeks and months following clean-up, watch for the growth of mold, which can cause illness. Mold appears as spots that can be many different colors and gives off a musty odor. Mold should be removed immediately with a mixture of one cup bleach (8 oz.) to every gallon of water.
- After clean-up, make sure electrical outlets are safe to use before restoring electrical power.
- Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits and leaching systems as soon as possible. Damaged sewage systems are health hazards.
- Wells providing drinking water to homes and businesses that were infiltrated by flood waters should be pumped out and the water should be tested for purity before drinking. Drinking water contaminated with bacteria and germs can cause illness.
- Stay away from downed power lines and anything that the power lines might be touching.
- Alert authorities immediately if you see downed power lines, and keep children and pets away from them.
If you have questions, call the Environmental Health Division of the Wayne County Department of Public Health at (734) 727-7400.
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