With the Lake Champlain now receding, a number of homeowners are expected to return to their homes along the shore. Emergency officials in Vermont are urging them to ensure conditions are safe.
In a statement, Vermont Emergency Management gives several helpful tips:
- Before returning to your home, have your electrical and heating systems inspected by a qualified professional.
- If you sustained serious damage have the structure inspected by a contractor.
- Watch out for fraud. Fraudulent contractors sometimes exploit a disaster. If you suspect fraud contact or visit the Vermont Attorney General’s Office Consumer Protection Office web site at: http://www.atg.state.vt.us/issues/consumer-protection.php.
- It is very important to remove mold. Furniture, carpets, and drywall that have been exposed to water for as little as 24 to 48 hours can contain mold. Open up the house, and if the weather permits, open all the doors and windows to exchange the moist indoor air for drier outdoor air.
- Remove all wet furniture, contents and carpets or rugs. If you decide to keep them, they must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.
- Most household cleaners will be good enough to cleanse walls and wood furniture. An alternative is a mixture of ¼ cup of liquid chlorine bleach for every gallon of water.
For more visit http://www.cdc.gov/mold/.
- When pumping out your basement do not remove all of the water at once. This may cause serious structural damage to the house. Draining the water too fast could cause the collapse of the cellar walls, floors, and foundation. The water must be drained slowly to equalize pressure on both sides of the wall.
- DO NOT USE GASOLINE POWERED PUMPS OR GENERATORS INDOORS AS THEY PRODUCE DEADLY CARBON MONOXIDE FUMES.
- Never go into a flooded basement unless you KNOW the electricity is off.
It is better to wait until water is no longer covering the ground around your home before pumping water from your basement.
- Be careful of slips and falls.
- If you have a private well, assume the water is unsafe to drink. Have your water tested as soon as possible.
For more helpful tips, visit the Vermont Department of Health web site. (http://www.healthvermont.gov/enviro/water/flood.aspx)
Homeowners may qualify for grants or low-interest loans to pay for damages and recovery. It is important to keep thorough records and include photos of the damage. Homeowners should call 2-1-1 to report damage to their home.