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Return home only when officials have declared the area safe

  • Return home only when officials have declared the area safe. Never drive through standing water. Turn around, don’t drown.
  • Before entering your home, look outside for loose power lines, damaged gas lines, foundation cracks or other damage. Parts of your home may be collapsed or damaged. Approach entrances carefully. See if porch roofs and overhangs have all their supports.
  • Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes that may have come into your home with floodwater.
  • If you smell natural or propane gas or hear a hissing noise, leave immediately and call the fire department or 911.
  • If power lines are down outside your home, do not step in puddles or standing water.
  • Keep children and pets away from hazardous sites and floodwater.
  • Materials such as cleaning products, paint, batteries, contaminated fuel and damaged fuel containers are hazardous. Check with local authorities for assistance with disposal to avoid risks.
  • During cleanup, wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and rubber boots.
  • Make sure your food and water are safe. Discard items that have come in contact with floodwater, including canned goods, water bottles, plastic utensils and baby bottle nipples. When in doubt, throw it out.
  • Do not use water that could be contaminated to wash dishes, brush teeth, prepare food, wash hands, make ice or make baby formula.
  • Contact your local or state public health department for specific recommendations for boiling or treating water in your area after a disaster.
  • Monitor local radio and television for updated weather reports. Download the free Red Cross Emergency App. Text GETEMERGENCY to 90999; search “Red Cross Emergency” in the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, or go to