Flood waters can contain sewage which, if the flood has been caused by heavy rain, will usually be in dilute form. Providing that you adopt normal basic hygiene precautions you are unlikely to be at any increased health risk.
Basic hygiene precautions include:
- Washing hands after exposure
- Washing footwear in a mild disinfectant
- Keeping children and pets out of the affected area.
- Where sewage is present in flood waters you should:
- Remove excess water (pumping or sweeping, as appropriate)
- Clean thoroughly to remove any debris or faecal contamination
- Leave the contaminated areas to dry
- Use a mild disinfectant which should remove all traces of bacteria within 24 to 48 hours.
Reducing flood damage
- Keep a list of useful numbers to hand; for example, flood emergency numbers, your local council, emergency services, and your insurance company.
- Make sure you know where to turn off your electricity and/or gas.
- Make sure that you have current insurance to cover against flood damage to your property.
- If you are aware that your property may be at risk of flooding have a few sandbags or floorboards prepared to block doorways and airbricks.
- Landowners can reduce the risk of flooding by ensuring that drains within their property are properly maintained.
- The public should refrain from dumping any material into urban watercourses as this may lead to blockages and flooding.
- Private gullies should be kept free of fallen leaves in autumn as they can cause temporary blockages.
- Think about your car; is it parked in a location which is susceptible to flooding. Where could you move it to in the event of a flood?