The American Red Cross offers the following tips for those affected by this week’s storms and floods in Washington state and Oregon. Many people are expected to do without power for the coming days as power outages continue to plague parts of southwest Washington and northwest Oregon. Hundreds of Red Cross volunteers are among the neighbors helping neighbors get through this crisis at a time when most would be gearing up for holiday celebrations.
The best way to stay safe is to follow the advice of local authorities. Find out if it is safe to enter your community or neighborhood. Do not enter your home unless officials have declared that it is safe to do so.
- Check the outside of your home before you enter. If you see damage on the outside, it could indicate that your home is unsafe.
- Use caution entering your damaged home. Stay out of any building if floodwater remains around the building.
- Do not use candles for lighting if the power goes out. Use flashlights only.
- If there is no power, do not step in standing water because it could be electrically charged. Check to make sure the main breaker is on. If it is and there is still no power, contact the utility company.
- Because of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, never operate un-vented fuel-burning appliances in any closed room or where people or animals are sleeping. Never use gas appliances such as ranges, ovens or clothes dryers for heating your home.
- Never use a portable generator in an enclosed or partially enclosed space, including in your home or in a garage, basement, crawl space or other partially enclosed area, even with ventilation. Locate a generator outdoors and away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors. Generators can produce high levels of deadly carbon monoxide very quickly.
- Take precautions during clean-up. Keep children and pets away from hazardous sites and floodwater.
- Wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and rubber boots, when cleaning homes with flood damage.
- Food and Water Usage
- Make sure your food and water are safe. Watch or listen to your local news for reports on the safety of your water. Do NOT ever use water that you think may be contaminated to wash dishes, brush teeth, prepare food, wash hands, make ice or make baby formula.
- Discard food and drinking water that has come in contact with floodwater, including canned goods, capped bottles, and cartons. When in doubt, throw it out!
- Watch animals closely and keep them under your direct control.
- Pets can become upset and react in unusual ways, such as spraying urine, defecating on floors or scratching/biting furnishings.
State of Mind
- Take steps to meet physical and emotional needs. Try to return to as many of your personal and family routines as possible. Get rest and drink plenty of water.