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After the Storm: Flood Water Safety

  • If you lost power, do not use gas-powered generators and other outdoor grills/camp stoves in enclosed spaces because of the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • If you have flooding near your home, be careful touching electrical equipment.
  • Practice good hygiene after contact with flood waters. Make sure to clean your hands with soap and water before preparing food or eating.
  • Do not allow children to play in flood water. Wash children’s hands with soap and water frequently (always before meals).
  • Wash toys or food preparation surfaces that have been in contact with flood water with a bleach solution and allow to air dry.
    • Prepare chlorine bleach solutions fresh daily (1 cup bleach in 5 gallons of water); keep out of reach of children; never mix bleach solution with other cleaners.
    • Apply bleach solution to surface for at least five minutes.
    • Rinse all surfaces intended for food or mouth contact with clean water before use.
  • If you’re on municipal water, follow the guidance of your provider.
  • A building that has been flooded can be a dangerous place. Learn what dangers to watch for, how to stay safe while you work and how to clean up properly in this factsheet, “After the Flood: Getting Back Into Your Home Safely.”
  • If you’re on well water and extensive flooding has occurred, do not drink the water and do not turn on the electricity to your pump until flood waters recede. Use your water reserves and bottled water until your well has been disinfected and your water has been tested.
    • The NC State Laboratory of Public Health assembled bacteria test kits in preparation for this storm. Contact your local health department’s private well program for testing.