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Flooding & Flood prevention » Flood Safety Tips

Flood Safety Tips

If you encounter a flooded area

  • Do not walk through flowing water. Drowning is the number one cause of flood deaths. Currents can be deceptive. If you walk in standing water be sure to use a pole or stick to ensure that firm ground is ahead.

  • Do not drive through a flooded area. This includes road barriers. Barriers are there for your protection.

  • Stay away from power lines and electrical wires. The number two flood killer after drowning is electrocution. Electrical current travels through water. If you see downed power lines report them immediately by dialing 911.

If you experience flooding in your home

  • Make sure there are no electric wires that are under the water level. If there are, do not attempt to enter the flooded area and contact the River Forest Fire Department.

  • If you have standing water in your basement, disconnect the main electrical switch.

  • Have your electricity turned off by Commonwealth Edison. If you have been flooded you should be aware that some appliances, such as televisions, hold electrical charges even after they have been unplugged. Do not use appliances or motors that have been wet unless they have been cleaned and checked by a professional. Commonwealth Edison's phone number is 1-800-Edison1 (1-800-334-7661).

  • Be alert for gas leaks. Use a flashlight to inspect for damage. Do not smoke or use candles, lanterns, or open flames unless you know the gas has been turned off and the area has been ventilated. Nicor's emergency phone number is 1-888-Nicor4u (1-888-642-6748).

  • Look out for animals. Small animals that have been flooded out of their homes may seek shelter in yours.

  • Clean everything that got wet. Floodwaters may have picked up sewage and chemicals from roads, farms, factories, and storage buildings. Spoiled food, flooded cosmetics, and medicine can be health hazards. When in doubt, throw them out.

  • Move items out of the flooded area as soon as possible. Clean items with strong disinfectant. Allow wet items to air-dry as quickly as possible to prevent rot and mildew. (Because the water may be contaminated with bacteria, while cleaning make sure to wear rubber gloves, boots, and try to avoid direct contact with the water.)

  • Wash down concrete or brick walls, floors, faucets etc. that have been under water, first with clean water, then soapy warm water. Sweep water and sediment down the drain or to the sump pump. If the area is carpeted, the best option is to rip up the wet, contaminated carpet and replace it.

  • Dry out the flooded area as quickly as possible. Suck up the water with a Wet-Dry vacuum, turn on your air conditioner and utilize several de-humidifiers and fans.

  • Remove basement wall baseboards and drill 1" holes halfway between the wall studs at the base of the walls, about 2" off the floor. When you re-install the baseboards, they will cover these holes. The holes will allow moist air from behind the drywall or paneling to be dried as the de-humidifiers suck out the humidity.

  • Check for mold. If mold is found, apply a fungicide directly onto the affected area. When the area dries, cover it with a mold encapsulating paint. If there is extensive mold growth, consider ripping out the drywall or wood affected or contacting a professional mold remediation company.

  • Contact your insurance company if you have homeowners or renters insurance for flooding.

  • Hire a professional contractor to conduct an assessment of your home and complete basement waterproofing and structural foundation repair.

If raw sewage backed up into your home

  • Keep people and pets away from the affected area.

  • Turn off your central heat and air system and prevent flow from reaching floor vents.

  • Strongly consider calling an experienced restoration company for cleanup and removal of affected surfaces. Leave items in the affected area for the experts to handle.

  • Report a claim to your homeowner's insurance carrier.

  • If you had recent plumbing work, contact your plumber or contractor.

  • Contact the Village to inquire about the subsidy program to install overhead sewers or backflow prevention valves to prevent future back-up problems.