Delaware Public Health (DPH) reminds people to be safe, and prevent injuries and illness during Sandy clean up. Tips:
- Do not allow children to play in or around storm water collection drains or any flood waters. Drainage areas may have swift currents that can create a drowning hazard. Storm water runoff may be contaminated with sewage, animal feces or chemicals. Sewage can contain the bacteria that causes tetanus, which can infect people through a wound or break in the skin that is exposed to contaminated water.
- While anyone can become ill, pregnant woman, babies, young children and elderly people are most susceptible to serious disease from flood water, and should be extra cautious.
- Examine all electrical connections for damage before restoring electricity. Turn off the main gas valve at the meter if you smell leaking gas. Do not turn on lights or use torches or lanterns since they can ignite the gas. Leave the premises immediately and notify the gas company or the fire department if you suspect a leak.
- Provide plenty of ventilation when using a gas-powered pump for flooded basements or a gas-powered generator for electricity. Fuel-burning devices in closed areas create life threatening carbon monoxide.
- After completing the cleanup, wash your hands with soap and warm water. If you are unsure about the cleanliness of your water system, use water that has been boiled for 1 minute (allow the water to cool before washing your hands).
- Or you may use water that has been disinfected for personal hygiene use (solution of ⅛ teaspoon [~0.75 milliliters] of household bleach per 1 gallon of water). Let it stand for 30 minutes. If the water is cloudy, use a solution of ¼ teaspoon (~1.5 milliliters) of household bleach per 1 gallon of water.
- Wash all clothes worn during the cleanup in hot water and detergent. These clothes should be washed separately from uncontaminated clothes and linens.
- Wash clothes contaminated with flood or sewage water in hot water and detergent. It is recommended that a laundromat be used for washing large quantities of clothes and linens until your onsite waste-water system has been professionally inspected and serviced
- Seek immediate medical attention if you become injured or ill.
Residents with questions about flood recovery can contact the Delaware Division of Public Health’s (DPH) Hurricane Sandy call center at 866-408-1899. The call center is scheduled to be open on Tuesday, October 30 at 12:00 p.m. (noon) to 4:30 p.m., and 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 31 to Friday, November 2, 2012. Hours may be subject to change due to call volume. For updated call center hours, follow Twitter #SandyDe or #StormDE.