Protect Yourself!

Floodwater can contain many harmful things such as bacteria from human and livestock waste; household, medical or industrial waste; physical objects like lumber and other debris; and wild or stray animals such as rodents and snakes.

  • Remember, do not enter your home until floodwater has receded and local officials declare the area safe.
  • Wear pants, long sleeve shirts, sturdy shoes and rubber gloves. Proper clothing protects you from bacteria and germs in the water, mold on surfaces, chemicals from cleaning supplies along with broken glass, trash and other debris that can cause injury.
  • Always wear personal protective equipment (PPE) for your eyes, nose, lungs and skin. (Gloves, Mask, Goggles)
  • Use soap or other cleaning products with a disinfectant for killing germs. Don’t mix cleaning products. Never mix bleach with other cleaning products! This can release toxic vapors.
  • Always read labels and follow directions.

Document Flood Damage

  • Contact your insurance provider
  • Document all property damage (photographs or video) before beginning clean up
  • Remember to take photos of the interior and exterior water line depth.
  • Make a written list of damaged property for your insurance adjuster.

Remove Flood Water and Increase Air Flow

Mold and mildew can grow in wet or damp areas within 24 - 48 hours.
  • Get the water out. You may need to rent a pump to remove any standing water in your home. Remove residual mud and dirt.
  • Dry your home and everything in it as quickly as possible.
  • Discard items which cannot be dried or cleaned within 24 to 48 hours. This includes drywall, insulation, carpet and furniture. You may want to save a small (2-feet by 2-feet square) piece of the carpet to show to the adjuster.
  • Food and Medicine that has come into contact with floodwaters should also be thrown away.
  • Separate the damaged from the undamaged property. Maintain control over the damaged property until it can be removed. Some items may not be placed at curbside for pick visit www.arlingtontx.gov/recycle for disposal information.
  • Keep oriental rugs wet - roll them up and take to professional cleaners for proper cleaning or evaluation
  • Open all doors and windows when you are working. If you feel it is safe, keep the doors and/or windows open when you leave.

Be Aware of Electrical Components, Gas Leaks and Contaminated Water Supplies

  • Until you know its safe don’t turn electricity and gas on. Contact your utility provider.
  • Don’t drink or cook with tap water until you know it is safe. Visit www.arlingtontx.gov/water for water and sanitary sewer information. 
  • Don’t turn on the lights or touch anything that uses electricity, until you know the power has been shut off.
  • Once it is safe to turn on the electricity, use fans and dehumidifiers to circulate air and remove moisture. If you don’t have electricity and are using generators, make sure they are being used in well ventilated areas.
  • Call for appliance repair company to have technician clean, service and provide repair estimate for flood-damaged appliances.
  • Call for heating company to have technician clean, service and provide repair estimate for flood-damaged heating/cooling equipment.

Clean Properly and Thoroughly

  • Scrub surfaces such as floors, walls and cabinets with hot water and a heavy-duty cleaner then disinfect them with a 10% chlorine bleach and water solution. (¼ cup chlorine bleach to a gallon of water)
  • In the kitchen, soak glass, porcelain, china, plastic dinnerware and enamelware in 2 tablespoons chlorine bleach to one gallon of hot water solution. Then air dry. Don’t use chlorine bleach on silverware or metal utensils, pots and pans. Instead boil in water for 10 minutes. Remember cabinets and counters need to be disinfected before storing kitchenware.
  • Never mix bleach with any other disinfectants or other cleaning supplies. Mixing chemicals such as bleach and ammonia creates toxic fumes. Always read container labels.
  • Dry thoroughly.
  • Don’t Cover It, Remove It

People with asthma, allergies or other breathing problems may be more sensitive to mold. Talk to your medical provider if you aren’t sure whether it is safe for you to clean up after a flood.

It there is a large amount of mold or flood damage, you may want to hire a professional to help you clean up.

For more information visit www.disasterassistance.gov or www.floodsafety.com.