Flood Recovery Safety Tips

Flood-Recovery-Tips-that-Could-Save-Your-Life-Altus-Emergency

Flood Recovery Safety Tips That Could Save Your Life

Flood Recovery Safety: Prevention & Treatment Tips

The devastating aftermath of Hurricane Harvey has left thousands of displaced families who are just now returning to their homes to assess the extent of the damages.

Our hearts go out to those who, one way or another have been affected by this terrible natural disaster, and reiterate our commitment to safeguarding the health of the members of our communities.

Now that the flood waters have receded in most counties, and people are preparing to go back to their homes, we would like to share some important flood recovery safety tips for homeowners and volunteers.

Flood Recovery Safety Tips to Prevent Skin Injuries

Flood recovery safety is necessary to avoid potential cuts and scrapes that are common when re-entering damaged homes.  Most of occur when clearing debris or moving furniture and other household items.

Preventing Skin Injuries

  • Wear appropriate clothing, long pants, long sleeve t-shirts are recommended when possible.

  • Wear well-fitting closed footwear, rubber or construction boots are ideal if you don’t have these sneakers will work, avoid wearing sandals.

  • Wear protective gloves, waterproof gloves are best, but even rubber gloves will serve to protect your hands.

Treating Skin Injuries

  • Wash the wound with clean water and soap as soon as possible.

  • Remove any particles that might become lodged in the skin.

  • Keep the wound covered to avoid contamination. If you see swelling, redness or if your wound starts to ooze, seek medical attention.

  • If you are experiencing profuse bleeding, apply pressure to the wound area and drive to the nearest Altus Emergency Center for medical assistance.

  • A Tetanus booster shot may be in order.

Flood Recovery Safety to Avoid Orthopedic Injuries

With so much debris around, there is a high risk of trips, falls and stumbles which result in minor orthopedic injuries such as sprains and strains. However, in some cases, the injury may involve broken bones.  Often, the difference between a minor or a major orthopedic injury is unclear, please seek immediate medical attention.

Preventing Orthopedic Injuries

  • Use proper lifting techniques, lift with your knees, not with your back.

  • Assess the terrain in and around your home, before you step on wooden planks or other debris.  This way, you will make sure they are not loose and are sturdy enough to carry your weight.

  • If you have weak joints, wear appropriate knee, ankle, or wrist braces to support your joints.

Treating Orthopedic Injuries

  • If you twist, sprain, or strain some part of your body, put ice on the injury to avoid swelling.

  • If the joint has already started to swell, elevate it to prevent or slow down the swelling.

  • In the event of a strain, stretching exercises will help to alleviate the pain.

  • Ibuprofen, aspirin or acetaminophen will ease the pain may ease the pain in minor injuries.

  • If you suspect that you have a fractured bone or you experience a severe pain, please rush to the nearest Altus Emergency Center for treatment.

Flood-Recovery-Safety-Orthopedic-Injuries-Altus-ER-Centers

Power Tools and Flood Recovery Safety

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During the flood recovery period, many will be repairing their homes which require the use of power tools.  Inappropriate use of home repair equipment may result in serious injuries.

Preventing Power Tool Injuries

  • Wear protective gear, goggles, gloves, headphones, etc.

  • Saws should be used on a firm surface that will not slip or fall while operating it.

  • Nail guns should be used with extreme caution.

Treating Power Tool Injuries

  • Deep cuts and puncture injuries will require immediate medical attention. If this occurs to you or someone around you, wrap the wound in a clean cloth and apply pressure to stop the bleeding while you seek help.

Do not Risk Electrocution During Flood Recovery

Anytime water has been present anywhere near electrical circuits there is a high risk of electrocution. Damp electrical panels and outlets are prone to short circuits that may cause fires or electrocute anyone who comes into contact with them.

Preventing Electrical Hazards and Injuries

  • Watch out for downed power lines around your home.  If there is one within your property, contact your power company to verify the power line has been de-energized.

  • Do not plug in any equipment to outlets who were submerged during the flood.

  • Disconnect the main power supply to your home before you start removing appliances.

  • If a fire breaks out in your home due to a short circuit, evacuate the home immediately and contact the fire department or call 911.

  • Practice wise flood recovery safety by never attempting to repair or clear a damaged power line or switch box. This should only be done by qualified technicians.

Treating Electrical Injuries

Cases of electrical shocks always need emergency medical attention, even if the person appears to be fine afterward.

  • If someone has been electrocuted, the first step is to separate them from the power source.  First, make sure you are standing on a dry surface.  Then, always use non-conductive objects such as a dry wooden plank, plastic broom handle, a non-metallic chair, etc.

  • Rush the patient to the nearest Altus Emergency Center for er medical attention.

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Rodents, Snakes, Insects, and Other Animals and Flood Recovery Safety

Flood-Recovery-Safety-Rodents-Snakes-Insects-Altus-ER-Centers

During a flood, humans are not the only ones who are displaced, wild animals will seek shelter wherever they can, and some may have taken refuge in your home or surrounding areas.

Preventing Injuries from Animal Attacks

  • Wear heavy leather gloves when clearing debris, snakes, and rodents may be living under it.

  • Always wear insect repellents that contain DEET or Picaridin.  It is vital to use insect repellent after a flood as there will be a proliferation of insects such as mites, ticks, and mosquitos, some of which spread dangerous viruses and diseases.

  • Wear long pants, socks, and long-sleeved shirts.

  • Wear boots that are at least 10 inches high

  • Avoid contact with live or dead wildlife, and wash your hands regularly.

Treating Snake and Insect Bites

  • Insect bites can be treated with over-the-counter medications that relieve pain and prevent infections.

  • Beware of fire ant colonies.  Their bites are extremely painful and can cause blisters or severe allergic reactions that include chest pain, nausea, trouble speaking, loss of breath and extreme swelling.  Should you or anyone around you experience any of these symptoms, please seek immediate medical attention.

  • If bitten by a snake, keep calm and still to slow the spread of the venom and rush to the nearest Altus Emergency Center to receive treatment. If possible take a picture of the snake so our doctors can apply the appropriate antidote.

Air Quality Hazards and Flood Recovery Safety

After a flood, the spread of mold is a factor that worries many, especially those who suffer from respiratory problems.

Preventing Air Quality Hazards

  • Always work in well-ventilated spaces.

  • Mold can develop within 24-48 hours of a flood.  You can control its growth by cleaning surfaces with a non-ammonia detergent or pine oil cleaner and disinfect with a 10% bleach solution. Caution: Never mix ammonia and bleach as the resulting fumes are highly toxic.

  • Never use power generators or water pumps inside as they release deadly carbon monoxide.

Treating Breathing problems

  • Mold can cause allergies and other respiratory problems, if you have been exposed to black mold, seek medical assistance.

  • If you suspect there has been a carbon monoxide poisoning, call 911 or rush to nearest Altus Emergency room.

Flood-Recovery-Safety-Air-Quality-Hazards-Altus-ER-Centers

Heat Injury Safety During Flood Recovery

Flood-Recovery-Safety-Heat-Injuries-Altus-ER-Centers

Both heat stroke and heat exhaustion must be considered in flood recovery safety as they are real concerns.

Preventing Heat Injuries

  • Drink plenty of clean water.

  • Avoid being in direct sunlight between the hours of 10:00 am and 4:00 pm if possible.

  • Wear sunscreen.

  • Wear sunglasses.

Treating Heat Injuries

  • Take the individual to a cool place out of the sun and provide them with plenty of drinking water.

  • Replenish fluids with hydrating beverages rich in electrolytes such as Gatorade and similar sports drinks.

  • If the person becomes seriously disoriented or experiences a swelling of the tongue or difficulty speaking, rush them to the ER right away.

Water Contamination, Chemical and Biological Hazards During Flood Recovery

Water Contamination

Contaminated water can cause diarrhea, rashes, and host of other unpleasant symptoms.

Preventing Water Contamination Symptoms

  • If the water supply in your area has been contaminated, do not drink from it.

  • Avoid getting contaminated water in your eyes or open wounds.

  • Throw away any food that has been into contact with flood water.

  • Do not let children play in flood water puddles.

Treating Contaminated Water Symptoms

  • In the case of diarrhea, keep hydrated and take over the counter medication. If these do not stop the episode then seek medical attention.  Cases that involve small children and the elderly are particularly sensitive.  Please seek immediate emergency medical attention if your baby or toddler experiences diarrhea and/or vomiting accompanied by a fever.

  • If allergic skin reactions occur such as rash, it is best to have a doctor examine it.

  • Open wounds that have come in contact with contaminated waters should be seen a doctor as they could become infected by bacteria.

Flood-Recovery-Safety-Water-Contamination-Altus-ER-Centers

Chemical and Biological Hazards

There have been serious reports of chemical and biological spills in some areas, encountering these through flood waters, or inhaling toxic gases can prove fatal.

If you suspect you may have been exposed to any chemicals or biological hazards, get to the nearest Emergency Center right away.

Together We Will Heal From Hurricane Harvey

Stay Safe, Stay Together and Stay Strong Texas!

By heeding flood recovery safety tips you help prevent an additional tragedy from occurring.  Thank you for inspiring us with so many amazing people who have reached out to their fellow Texan during Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath.  This is a clear reflection of the big hearts that live in our great state of Texas.  Thank you to all of the first responders and volunteers that have pitched in to help.  Together, we will rebuild a bigger, better Texas!

At Altus Emergency Centers, we are strong advocates of education and prevention. Our expertly trained staff is available 24/7. We are here for you in the event of a medical emergency. Don’t drive far distances to receive proper care! Visit your nearest Altus Emergency Center!

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