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Stay informed with weekly articles and safety tips from our resident emergency preparedness expert, Barbara L. The Human tendency is to believe, “it will never happen to me”, but it is our responsibility as parents, friends, and neighbours to be prepared.
In last week’s Emergency Preparedness News column, I covered the health risks New Orleans residents have been facing since flood waters inundated their city.
Maintain proper hygiene, such as frequent handwashing and showering, as the situation allows. Use the utility wrench in American Family Safety’s Ready-Kit™ to turn off the water in your home to prevent additional flooding and pipe problems.
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But drinking polluted water is only one of the ways you may become ill if your town floods during a disaster.
These include airborne viruses, evaporated oil products, mold spores, mosquito-borne infections and smoke from fires. Any food items that have touched floodwaters —including unopened cans or sealed packages—also put you at risk, as containers have been exposed to bacteria.
In addition, you run the risk of cutting yourself on sharp debris or getting your feet caught in unstable pockets or holes.
Wash all surfaces well, including wrists, palms, backs of hands, fingers and under the fingernails. You can develop dermatitis (an inflammation of the skin), and if your feet have been submerged in contaminated waters and remain wet for an extended period, you’re at risk for immersion foot (also called “trench foot”).

In some areas, drop-offs may be surprisingly deep, and you can become submerged in a matter of seconds.
Downed electric lines from high winds may also be hidden in waters—and they may still carry an electrical charge.

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