1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

September 16, 2008

:260 Flood Contamination

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:260 EcoTip: When catastrophic disasters such as hurricanes Katrina and Ike hit – there are frequently not enough professional resources available to help. This means people need to become knowledgeable in safely and effectively managing their own recovery.

In my book Extreme Weather Hits Home: Protecting Your Buildings From Climate Change  I discuss ways to recognize potential problems and protect your home – but once disaster has struck information published by the Red Cross is a very good primer. 

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review: :256, :257, :258, :259

This is the fifth in a series of EcoTips about protecting oneself when remodeling and working around buildings when participating in disaster recovery such as occurred with hurricane Katrina and is going on now with Ike. This information is timely since 2008 is the most active hurricane season since 2005 and many buildings are being damaged.

The Red Cross has posted an excellent booklet for flood recovery. It contains a lot of helpful information. You can view it at http://www.redcross.org/static/file_cont333_lang0_150.pdf

Here’s an excerpt about basements that get flooded:

If your basement is flooded, don’t be in too big a hurry to pump it out. Here’s why. Water in the ground outside your home is pushing hard against the outside of your basement walls. But the water inside your basement is pushing right back.

If you drain your basement too quickly, the pressure outside the walls will be greater than the pressure inside the walls—and that may make the walls and floor crack and collapse, causing serious damage. To avoid this situation, follow these steps when you pump the water out of your basement:

Never go into a basement with standing water in it unless you are sure the electricity is off.

After floodwaters are no longer on top of the ground, you can start pumping the water out of the basement. Do not use gasoline-powered pumps or generators indoors because gasoline engines create deadly carbon monoxide exhaust fumes. Pump the water level down two to three feet. Mark the level and wait overnight. Check the water level the next day. When the water stops going back up, pump down another two to three feet and wait overnight. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until all water is pumped out of the basement.

 

CDC and NIOSH also has lots of good information at http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/flood/  

 

 

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