Flooding - Staying Healthy and safe
Some important things to consider to stay safe and healthy following the floods
- Only return to evacuated buildings if you are told it is safe to do so. If you are worried that your property is unsafe following the floods, you can contact the building control department.
- Avoid electricity sources and do not attempt to turn off the electricity supply while standing in water. If you have problems with your power you can contact Western Power on 0800 365900.
- Get an approved service engineer to check your property utilities (gas, electricity and water) before turning back on to ensure that all electrical circuits are fully dried.
- Watch out for Carbon Monoxide poisoning risks posed by the use of generators and other fuel-powered equipment used indoors. Where possible these appliances should be used out of doors. If this is not possible, ensure the rooms are well ventilated
- Cover open cuts and wounds on exposed skin with a waterproof plaster.
- Anyone who experiences dizziness, headaches or disorientation whilst using any outdoor gas appliance or generator should switch it off immediately, go outside and seek medical advice.
- It is natural that people returning home to damp-affected houses will be tempted to leave the central heating running continually to dry out and heat the premises, but before doing so it is essential to check that flues, air vents and air bricks are not blocked. Otherwise even normal central heating may produce carbon monoxide. Gas appliances and flues should be checked by a Gas Safe Registered engineer, whilst other fossil-fuelled appliances and flues should be checked by a suitably qualified and appropriately registered engineer.
- Take extra care if using candles and open fires.
- Ensure that you have a working smoke alarm as there is an increased risk of fire from wet electrics. The Fire Service will provide a free home fire safety check if required (0800 3581 999)
- waterproof gloves and rubber boots and remember to be careful of potentially concealed hazards
- Wherever possible avoid contact with flood water, if you have to go into the water, wear
- Wash your hands and children’s hands frequently; this is the most important way to get rid of harmful bugs. Use warm clean water and soap, use cold water if there is no hot water, or wet wipes / bacterial hand gels if there is no water at all
- For cleaning, avoid use of any chemicals other than simple detergents and kitchen cleaning agents
- Keep children away from water, especially when going or returning from school, they won’t know how deep the water is and there may be hidden dangers. Flooding is not an opportunity for recreational activities
- Very young children should avoid playing directly on timber floorboards or any damaged tiled floors if possible.
- Help for vulnerable and elderly people returning to their houses may be available from the Social Services.
- While in the property floorboards, wall's etc will continue to dry out. Any loose material and dust resulting from this should be vacuumed up on a regular basis
- Do not underestimate the stress and strain of being flooded and cleaning up after floods. Do not overdo it when cleaning up, and remember that tiredness, difficulty sleeping and anxiety are normal in these circumstances
- Look out for vulnerable neighbours in your community, contact Health and Social Care services if required
- If anybody is unable to either access accommodation or occupy their property, or they are vulnerable in anyway and have no friends or family to stay with, then contact Cornwall Council Housing on 0300 1234 161
- If you have lost any medication as a result of the flood, contact your GP surgery, or Serco if outside of normal opening hours
There is a lot of useful information on the Public Health England (previously Health Protection Agency) website about flooding, cleaning up after flooding, and any health issues you need to be aware of.
You can also access useful leaflets they have produced here:
- Health advice - general information following flooding
- Health advice - cleaning up following flooding
- Health advice - coping without mains water
- Frequently asked questions on flooding (also available as Flood related FAQ pdf document)