(HealthDay News) -- Returning home after a flood can be very unpleasant, but there are things you can do to help protect your health and safety.
The American Red Cross offers these post-flood guidelines:
- Don't go home until the building has officially been declared safe.
- Carefully inspect the outside of your home before entering, looking for downed power lines, foundation cracks and problems with gas lines.
- Make sure the roof and overhangs are fully supported before you enter.
- Steer clear of standing water if you see downed power lines. Move away and call the fire department immediately if you smell propane or natural gas, or hear a hissing sound.
- Watch for wild animals, especially snakes in the water, and keep children away from water and other dangerous areas.
- Use caution around hazardous materials such as batteries, fuel, paint and cleaning products. Protect yourself with rubber boots, gloves and protective clothing.
- Throw away any food or utensils that have come in contact with flood water.