Quick Tips: Basic Home Re-Entry - EH: Minnesota Department of Health


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Fact Sheets for Disasters: Basic Home Re-Entry

Safety first

Before entering a building that has been flooded, take care to be safe.
Watch for loose plaster, drywall, and ceilings that could fall.

Wear sturdy shoes

Cut feet are the most common wound after a disaster.

Use battery-powered lights

Use battery-powered lights or flashlights if you need light for a short time.

Look for fire hazards

Fire is the most common hazard after floods. Look for:

  • Broken or leaking gas lines;
  • Flooded electrical wires;
  • Furnaces and electrical appliances that are under water;
  • Items that can catch fire or explode.

Check for gas leaks

If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise:

  • Quickly leave the building;
  • Turn off the gas at the outside main valve if you can; and
  • Call the gas company from a remote location.

If you turn off the gas for any reason, a professional must turn it back on.

Look for electrical damage

DO NOT step in water:

  • If you see sparks, broken or frayed wires;
  • Smell burning insulation; or
  • To turn off the electricity.

Call an electrician to help. If you can safely reach the fuse box or circuit breaker, turn off the electricity.

Pump out basement water slowly

Pump floodwater out of a basement slowly. Pump about one-third of the water each day to avoid damage to basement walls. Pressure from water in the soil outside the walls can break walls if you pump too fast.

More Detailed Fact Sheets

Note: This information has been excerpted and adapted from a 56-page booklet from the Red Cross, available in two languages:

Updated Tuesday, March 31, 2015 at 09:18AM