A heavy rainfall started up in the early morning hours of August 13th, 2014 on Long Island and kept up until later on that day. Although most Long Islanders were aware of the approaching heavy rainfall, no one expected the amount we received. The heavy rain and floods succeeded in turning parking lots into lakes, stranding people on their way into work, and causing countless road closures and blockages.
The Town of Islip had to declare a state of emergency with a record breaking 13.1 inches of rain. Sunrise Highway and Southern State Parkway, two very popular Long Island roadways for commuters, also suffered major flooding.
In lieu of today’s events, here are instructions on what to do after a flood and how to proceed about cleaning up the mess.
Practicing Proper Hygiene & Sanitation
It’s very important to practice proper hygiene and sanitation during the period after a flood. Floodwater can easily become contaminated by sewage or other hazardous chemicals. This is why children should never be allowed to play in floodwater and any open cuts or sores should be kept as covered and clean as possible.
When washing your hands and body use soap and boiled or disinfected water. Any open cuts that have been touched by floodwater should be thoroughly cleaned and you should apply antibiotic cream to avoid any infection. Hand washing is necessary after every single time you touch something contaminated by floodwater.
What Can Be Saved
If your house, car, garage, apartment, etc. has been flooded there are some things that should not be saved. Porous items that absorb water and can collect mold should be thrown out. Mattresses, upholstered furniture, rugs & carpet, paper materials, computers, books, microwaves, box springs, food, and electronics with fans are items that should be thrown away after a flood.
Mold is a huge issue because mold can cause disease & illness, allergic reactions, and further damage items after the storm. After a flood it’s imperative to ventilate the area and get rid of any standing water and soaked items. If the mold has already begun to grow you should call a professional to have them remove it and stop the growth.
Household Cleanup & Garbage Disposal
When you’re cleaning up after the storm be sure to wear waterproof gloves and rubber boots to protect yourself. Walls and household surfaces must be disinfected. Use soap and water and a solution of 1 cup of bleach to every 5 gallons of water. Fiberboard, disposable filters from your cooling/heating system, and insulation, should be replaced. Also, garbage needs to be secured in a watertight container and should not be placed anywhere near your well.
Click here for images of the flooding around Long Island.
Stay safe and stay dry!
[Source: NYS Department of Health]
Pictured: A home on Wyona Avenue in Selden on Wednesday, August 13th. Photo courtesy of Margaret Ann Photography.