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Returning home after the flood

Returning home after the flood
Soon hundreds of displaced flood victims will be returning to their homes to begin the long clean-up process. Officials with the University of Tennessee Extension are urging individuals to use every precaution when returning to flood damaged structures, as many of these buildings can pose several hazards to humans.
The first thing you’ll want to do before entering your home for the first time is turn off all electric service. If the main disconnect is inside the house, it would be wise to call your utility company for assistance. Even if power is out in your neighborhood, disconnect the main switch, fuse or circuit breaker at your home and disconnect all circuits.
You also want to turn off any outside gas lines and let the house ventilate for several minutes to remove escaping gas. When entering the building, don’t use an open flame as a light source. Use a battery-operated flashlight. Do not smoke.
Remember that walking surfaces may be slippery or uneven. Enter carefully. Check for a sagging ceiling; pocketed water can cause ceilings to fall. Once in, unplug all appliances that have been flooded. Remember that some appliances can shock you, even after the power is turned off.
Details about how to begin assessing damage and cleaning your property can be found online in the Louisiana State University Ag Center publication: Cleaning Flood-Damaged Homes (
University of Tennessee and Tennessee State University are members of the nationwide e-extension network that provides research-based information and news you can use.
Find flood recovery information online at Follow the link under resource areas for floods. Additional information is available from the Louisiana State University Ag Center: click on the “community” topics link for disaster and recovery assistance.
Published in The Messenger 5.7.10

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