After a Flood
Decontaminating after a Flood
Mold is caused by moisture after flooding, mold is likely to be an ongoing issue. The Federal Emergency Management Agency along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the National Institutes of Health have developed guidance and information regarding mold management and cleanup after disasters. We encourage residents to refer to this guidance while cleaning up personal property in the wake of the recent flooding.
Additional information can also be found on the Georgia Department of Public Health’s website.
Please view information (PDF) for how to disinfect a private well if it was flooded.
After a Flood
Before Entering Your Home
Walk carefully around the outside and check for loose power lines, gas leaks, and structural damage. If you have any doubts about safety, have your residence inspected by a qualified building inspector or structural engineer before entering.
Do not enter your home if:
- You smell gas
- Floodwaters remain around the building
- Your home was damaged by fire and the authorities have not declared it safe
Going Inside Your Home
When you go inside your home, there are certain things you should and should not do. Enter the home carefully and check for damage. Be aware of loose boards and slippery floors. The following items are other things to check inside your home:
Natural Gas or Propane
If you smell gas or hear a hissing or blowing sound, open a window and leave immediately. Turn off the main gas valve from the outside, if you can. Call the gas company from a neighbor’s residence. If you shut off the gas supply at the main valve, you will need a professional to turn it back on. Do not smoke or use oil, gas lanterns, candles, or torches for lighting inside a damaged home until you are sure there is no leaking gas or other flammable materials present.
Sparks & Broken or Frayed Wires
Check the electrical system unless you are wet, standing in water, or unsure of your safety. If possible, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. If the situation is unsafe, leave the building and call for help. Do not turn on the lights until you are sure they’re safe to use. You may want to have an electrician inspect your wiring.
Roof, Foundation & Chimney Cracks
If it looks like the building may collapse, leave immediately.
If appliances are wet, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. Then, unplug appliances and let them dry out. Have appliances checked by a professional before using them again. Also, have the electrical system checked by an electrician before turning the power back on.
Water & Sewage Systems
If pipes are damaged, turn off the main water valve. Check with local authorities before using any water; the water could be contaminated. Pump out wells and have the water tested by authorities before drinking. Do not flush toilets until you know that sewage lines are intact.
Food & Other Supplies
Throw out all food and other supplies that you suspect may have become contaminated or come in to contact with floodwater.
Be alert for objects that may fall. Clean up household chemical spills. Disinfect items that may have been contaminated by raw sewage, bacteria, or chemicals.
Make sure you clean salvageable items. Call your insurance agent, take pictures of damages and keep good records of repair and cleaning costs.
Mold & Moisture
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shares information in the Homeowner's and Renter's Guide to Mold Cleanup After Disasters. Additionally, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) shares information about Dealing with Mold & Mildew in Your Flood Damaged Home (PDF).