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September 29, 2010

Public Advisory: Safety Advice for Residents Returning Home

Fire and Emergency Services Newfoundland and Labrador is reminding home owners to keep safety top of mind as the clean- up continues following Hurricane Igor. Many affected homes should be inspected by trained professionals to avoid progressive problems and issues. Residents are encouraged to contact their insurance companies and to take steps themselves to mitigate any further damage. Mould and other issues can lead to serious health problems and measures should be taken to keep families safe from harm.

Re-entering Your Home

  • Please ensure authorities have advised that it is safe to re-enter the home.
  • If the main power switch was not turned off prior to flooding, do not re-enter the home until a qualified electrician has determined it is safe to do so.
  • Use extreme caution when returning to the home after a flood.
  • Do not use any appliances, heating, pressure, or sewage systems until electrical components have been thoroughly cleaned, dried, and inspected by a qualified electrician. Appliances that may have been flooded pose a risk of shock or fire when turned on.
  • The main electrical panel must be cleaned, dried, and tested by a qualified electrician to ensure that it is safe.
  • Depending on where residents live, the municipal or provincial inspection authority is responsible for the permitting process required before the electric utility can reconnect power to the home.

Ensuring Building Safety

  • Make sure the building is structurally safe.
  • Look for buckled walls or floors.
  • Watch for holes in the floor, broken glass and other potentially dangerous debris.

Water

  • Flood water can be heavily contaminated with sewage and other pollutants. It can cause sickness and infections.
  • If through colour, odour or taste you suspect that your drinking water has been contaminated, don't drink it.
  • Household items that have been flood-damaged will have to be discarded according to local waste disposal regulations, but not until such time as adjustors have had a chance to review the items. Please keep in a specific area of your property, covered with a tarp.

Documentation

  • Store all valuable papers that have been damaged in a freezer until they are needed (after the cleanup, consult a lawyer to determine whether flood-damaged documents, or just the information in them, must be retained).
  • Record details of flood damage by photograph or video, if possible.
  • Register the amount of damage to the home with both the insurance agent and local municipality immediately.

The Provincial Government is moving forward with its provincial disaster assistance program for those who qualify, however home owners need to take initial steps to ensure safety is top of mind. FES-NL advises if you require further information or have questions, please call 1-888-395-5611.

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Media contact:
Cheryl Gullage
Public Relations Specialist

Fire and Emergency Services-Newfoundland and Labrador
709-729-0857, 631-9962
CherylGullage@gov.nl.ca

2010 09 29                                                    1:35 p.m.


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