The Philadelphia Department of Public Health offers these tips to help you and your family stay safe when cleaning up after Hurricane Irene.
- First turn off the electricity in all flooded rooms!
- Remove all water by mopping, pumping, wet vacuuming or clearing drains.
Clean and dry thoroughly:
- All wet light fixtures (Don’t turn the electricity back on until they are dry!)
- All ceiling tiles, paper products, baseboards, and insulation that were damaged by water.
- All drywall up to four feet above the floodwater line.
- Furniture that has absorbed water (like mattresses, sofas, and upholstered chairs).
- Medicines and foods that touched floodwater.
- All perishable foods that have not been refrigerated for more than six hours.
- Any frozen foods that have thawed
Wet vacuum, shampoo and air-dry:
Wash with soap and water, wipe with a disinfectant, and dry:
- Furniture that doesn’t absorb water (like wooden chairs and cabinets)
- All contaminated floors, counters, and other surfaces
- All cooking and eating utensils that were touched or splashed by floodwater
- Foam rubber items
Wipe with a disinfectant or wash in a dishwasher in hot water:
- Children’s toys (Don’t let children play with toys until they have been cleaned and disinfected!)
Wipe twice with a disinfectant, then air dry:
- Wood and metal studs
- Open windows and doors while cleaning and for at least 24 hours after cleaning. This will help surfaces to dry more quickly, and will help prevent mold. If you can, use fans or dehumidifiers to help dry things.
For more information about cleaning up after a flood, check out the Philadelphia Department of Public Health's Health Bulletin or call the Health Department’s Environmental Engineering Section Monday - Friday (8 am - 4:30 pm) at 215-685-7342.