Flood Clean-Up. Do not return until authorities have advised that it is safe to do so.

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1 Flood Clean-Up The recent flooding in New Brunswick has caused extensive damages to businesses and homes throughout the province. WHSCC has assembled some useful information on how to deal with clean-up and other problems caused by flooding. These tips can be applied both at home or in the workplace. Re-entering the home or workplace: Do not return until authorities have advised that it is safe to do so. If the main power switch was not turned off before flooding, do not re-enter your home or workplace until a qualified electrician has determined it is safe to do so. Use extreme caution when returning after a flood. Appliances that may have been flooded pose a risk of shock or fire when turned on. Do not use any appliances, heating, pressure, or sewage system until electrical components have been thoroughly cleaned, dried, and inspected by a qualified electrician. The main electrical panel must be cleaned, dried, and tested by a qualified electrician to ensure that it is safe. If your power has not been turned off by NB Power, contact your local electrical inspector, or an accredited electrical contractor. List of the Department of Public Safety's Electrical Inspection Services offices Before Clean-up Begins: Wear rubber boots. Keep extension cords out of the water. Shut the power off to the flooded area at the breaker box. Ask your electrical utility for help if needed. Record details of damage, with photos or video if possible. Contact your insurance agent immediately and register with your municipality your municipality may have resources you need, such as future financial assistance. Set up a step-by-step action plan to: Remove all water, mud and other debris. Dispose of contaminated household goods. Rinse away contamination inside the home. Remove the rinse water. Clean and dry out your house and salvageable possessions.

2 Assemble equipment and supplies: Gloves, masks (N95 respirators) and other protective gear. Pails, mops, squeegees and plastic garbage bags. Unscented detergent. Large containers for wet bedding and clothing, and lines to hang them to dry. You may also need to rent extension cords, submersible pumps, wet/dry shop vacuums, and dehumidifiers or heaters. Store valuable papers that have been damaged in a freezer until you have time to work on them. First Steps: Remove standing water with pumps or pails, then with a wet/dry shop vacuum. Remove all soaked and dirty materials and debris, including wet insulation and drywall, residual mud and soil, furniture, appliances, clothing and bedding. Hose down any dirt, then rinse several times, removing the remaining water with a wet/dry shop vacuum. Rinse, then clean all floors as quickly as possible. Flooring that has been deeply penetrated by flood water or sewage should be discarded. Work from the top down. Break out all ceilings and walls that have been soaked or that have absorbed water. Remove materials at least 500 mm (20 in.) above the high-water line. Removing only the lower part of the wall applies if action is taken immediately after the flood or wetting event. Gypsum board walls that have been exposed to high humidity or standing water for a prolonged period of time should be removed in their entirety and discarded. Ceiling tiles and panelling should be treated like drywall. Wash and wipe/scrub down all affected or flooded surfaces with unscented detergent and water. Rinse. Repeat the process as needed. Concrete surfaces can be cleaned with a solution of TSP (tri-sodium phosphate) in water (one half cup TSP to one gallon of warm water). When using TSP, which is highly corrosive, wear gloves and eye protection. Bleach is NOT recommended The presence of organic (humic) materials, the ph (acidity/alkalinity) of the water, the surface material and contact time affect the effectiveness of bleach for disinfection. Since these factors are not generally controlled, bleach cannot be relied upon for disinfection. The most compelling reason for advising against bleach is that fumes are harmful but, in addition, overuse of bleach will result in increased releases of chlorinated effluents which can be harmful to the environment. Surfaces that are dry and/or have not been directly affected by the flood water should be vacuumed with a HEPA vacuum cleaner. Further cleaning of concrete surfaces can be done with TSP. Washable surfaces can be washed with unscented detergent and water. Surface mould on wood can be removed with a vacuum-sander. Do not sand without simultaneous vacuuming. Wood that looks mouldy after sanding may need to be replaced.

3 After cleaning the surfaces, ventilate or dehumidify the house until it is completely dry. Rapid drying is important to prevent mould growth. When the outside weather permits (low humidity and moderate temperature), open doors and windows and hasten the drying process with fans. If the outside weather is not suitable and you notice that drying is not happening fast, use dehumidifying equipment, renting extra units as necessary. To determine if the outdoor air can help dry the air inside, place a hygrometer in the area to be dried. Let it stabilize then open a window and monitor the Relative Humidity (RH). If it goes down then it means the air is dry enough to assist the drying process. If the RH increases, close the window. Carpets must be dried within two days. Sewage-soaked carpets must be discarded. Homeowners can't effectively dry large areas of soaked carpets themselves. Qualified professionals are required. What to Keep or Discard: Remove and discard items that cannot be washed and disinfected (such as, mattresses, carpeting, carpet padding, rugs, upholstered furniture, cosmetics, stuffed animals, baby toys, pillows, foamrubber items, books, wall coverings, and most paper products). Remove and discard drywall and insulation that has been contaminated with sewage or flood waters. Separate valuable papers. Ask a lawyer whether you should save the papers themselves or just the information on them. Solid wood or metal furniture can be cleaned with a household detergent solution, wiping clean and then wiping dry. Furniture should be left to dry outside before furniture polish may be applied where needed. Upholstered furniture and mattresses affected by flooding should not be used. The frames of good quality wood furniture can sometimes be salvaged, but must be cleaned and dried by ventilation away from direct sunlight or heat. Consult a furniture restoration specialist. Coverings, paddings and cushions must be discarded and replaced. Other Cleaning Information: Ensure electrical power is turned off. Clean the unit thoroughly with a detergent solution, rinse with clean water that has been previously boiled, then wash with a solution containing one-half cup of Javex or similar product in nine litres (two gallons) of water. Allow to dry, with door kept open. Note: Any appliance that has been partially or wholly immersed in water is no longer insulated. It cannot be dried without removal. A qualified service technician should be contacted before the appliance is put into service.

4 Basements and Rooms It is important to use a good soap or detergent, "elbow grease", and lots of hot water when cleaning. Walls, solid floors, and ceilings should be thoroughly scrubbed with a good detergent or soap and water. Avoid household bleach. Organic content and ph in flood waters as well as contact time required for bleach to kill microorganisms may render bleach ineffective. For significant flood or water damage, you may need to consult with an air quality specialist or professional cleaner. Water and wastes can be removed by pumping, pails, shovels, etc. Wastes should be buried at least 15 metres (50 feet) away from the source of any water supply. Lime may be used to cover wastes before covering with soil. This advice applies to all waste disposals in the following section. Oil or petroleum products are usually removed with Varsol or similar products. After cleaning, open doors and windows to air thoroughly and help the drying process. Oil Clean-Up An oil spill which occurs in a house could create a contamination problem that can be difficult to correct. Peat moss can be used to remove floating oil. If only finished basement walls have been affected, the odour can be eliminated by removing and discarding the wall covering, studding, insulation and any other permeable material. Caution should be taken in using electrical equipment during cleaning since the fumes could ignite and cause an explosion. Dispersants should also be avoided in cases where oil tanks have been ruptured. After Clean-Up: Wash your hands with soap and water. Use water that has been boiled for 1 minute (allow the water to cool before washing your hands). Or you may use water that has been disinfected for personal hygiene use (solution of ½ teaspoon of household bleach per 1 gallon of water). Let it stand for 30 minutes. If the water is cloudy, use a solution of ¼ teaspoon of household bleach per 1 gallon of water. Wash all clothes worn during the clean-up in hot water and detergent. These clothes should be washed separately from uncontaminated clothes and linens. Wash clothes contaminated with flood or sewage water in hot water and detergent. It is recommended that a laundromat be used for washing large quantities of clothes and linens until your onsite waste-water system has been professionally inspected and serviced. Flood Aftermath Things to Consider: Water Contamination Private water supplies affected by flooding should not be used until they have been disinfected and tested. Until tests indicate a safe water supply, water for drinking and personal use should be brought to a rolling boil for at least 1 minute and then stored in clean covered containers. Communicate with your local Public Health Office for information on how to proceed to have your water tested. The following link provides information on how to disinfect your water well and indoor plumbing, click here. Mould and Mildew To avoid the health hazards of mildew and mould, water soaked walls and insulation should be

5 removed, and the space and studding allowed to dry thoroughly. Walls constructed of gyproc, plaster or wood will dry out in time but insulation in these walls is no longer effective. As insulation becomes water soaked the weight causes it to settle and compact at the bottom, leaving a large portion of the wall no longer insulated. Caution: Obtain approval from assessors, insurance agents and other relevant agencies before discarding or destroying any furniture or equipment. Foods Affected by Flooding To avoid the health hazards of food contamination, all perishable goods, vacuum-packed foods and any other foods affected by flooding should be thrown out. Commercially-canned food properly identified by labels, containers which show no leaks, swelling or rusting at joints or edges should be thoroughly washed and dried. Vacuum-packed foods pose a special hazard due to dried waste material inside crevices and covers. They should be discarded. Home preserves, meats, fish or dairy products should be discarded as unsafe if they have been affected by flood water. Frozen foods left in a freezer will stay frozen for a few days without electricity if the door is kept shut. These products can be refrozen if ice crystals are still present and the food has not been exposed to flood waters. All perishable food left in a refrigerator more than 24 hours without electricity should be discarded. Cooking and eating utensils should be cleaned of all deposits, washed with a household detergent or soap and rinsed for at least two full minutes in a mixture containing 15 millilitres (one table spoon) of liquid bleach in 4.5 litres (one gallon) of water. Utensils used for infant feeding should be boiled before use. Hazardous Products Household hazardous products, such as pesticides, can also cause problems. Contaminated items and surfaces should also be cleaned. Although small amounts of household hazardous products or agricultural products can be placed in plastic bags and discarded with domestic garbage, significant quantities should be handled differently, under the advice of the Department of the Environment. Important Phone Numbers: Emergency Assistance: 911 Flood Damage: NB-EMO: NB Power: River Watch (recorded message): WHSCC:

6 Online Resources: New Brunswick River Watch NB-EMO Flood Clean-Up (under Post-Flood Clean-Up)

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