Water Rising

By: Joe Hamilton
By: Joe Hamilton

Flood waters caused heavy damage in Stephenson County Thursday night where some areas received more than 10 inches of rain.

Pearl City particularly hit hard and has had to evacuate part of its town.

"Basically we've lost everything, I don't know how we will recover from this,” said resident Beth Goldsmith.

Residents of Pearl City were using boats to get home after more than ten inches of rain fell in parts of the area. Destroying everything this Goldsmith owns.

"My god this is terrible. Jesus,” comments Goldsmith.

More than homes are currently under water that reeks from gas and oil. That number will likely rise as the yellow creek continues climb more than two inches an hour.

"This came up to this level in a matter of hours, said Pearl City Fireman Brent Schneider."

The water came up so fast that residents were barely able to get out.

"We had to take a boat to get my kids out. We grabbed a change of clothes and some shoes and that was about it,” said Goldsmith.

Emergency management officials say that the American Red Cross is helping families with food and that others are just opening up there doors to neighbors who don't have a place to stay. They say that they have never seen it this bad.

"People say this is the worst they have seen it since 1929,” said Schneider.

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Some tips to keep you safe while cleaning up your home and yard

  • The most likely diseases to occur due to flooding are diarrheal and gastrointestinal diseases caused by contaminated water and vector-borne diseases due to increased mosquito breeding habitats.

  • There is also an increased risk of tetanus due to flood-related injuries and exposure to flood water. Increases in respiratory diseases associated with growth of molds and fungi also have occurred after flooding.

  • Gastrointestinal diseases may be caused by a variety of microorganisms associated with drinking contaminated water, eating contaminated food or failure to wash hands properly after exposure to flood waters.

To prevent gastrointestinal diseases:

  • Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and clean water after they have been in contact with flood waters. If possible, gloves should be worn, especially when cleaning up after the flood.

  • Make sure water is safe before drinking, washing dishes, brushing teeth, making ice or preparing food. Use bottled water or treat the water. The following methods should be used to make water safe for use.

  • Bring water to a rolling boil water and continue to boil for at least 1 minute, or

  • Treat water with chlorine or iodine tablets.

  • Ensure food items are safe.

  • A freezer will keep foods safe for 24 to 48 hours after electricity is discontinued if the door remains closed. Food should be discarded if electricity remains off longer than 48 hours or if there is doubt about how long the foods may have been above 40o F.

  • Dry ice can be used if electrical power will be cut off. A 50-pound block of dry ice will keep food safe for approximately 2 days in an 18-cubic foot freezer.

  • Foods in paper, cardboard or any container that has been opened should be discarded after contact with floodwaters.

  • Canned foods can be used if the cans are undamaged. Cans should be washed in a bleach solution (1/4 cup bleach in 1 gallon of water) for at least one minute and then dried.

  • Home-canned items should generally be discarded since it is difficult to determine if the seal has been broken. If it is certain that water has not reached the jar top, the food may be used after the jar is sanitized.

  • Fruits that can be peeled may be eaten if they are first sanitized with the bleach solution described above. These fruits should be peeled and cooked before eating; they should not be eaten raw. Root and garden vegetables should be discarded.

"When in doubt, throw it out."

Injuries are likely to occur during floods, here are some tips to prevent injuries:

  • Do not swim or wade in floodwaters.
  • Do not attempt to cross swift-flowing water or water of unknown depth, even in a vehicle.
  • Avoid downed power lines.
  • Do not return to your home or business until authorities give approval.
  • Be wary of stray and wild animals displaced by the flood.
  • Wear protective gear such as boots, gloves and helmets when entering a recently flooded building.
  • Use battery-powered flashlights or lanterns when returning to your home. To avoid explosions from undetected gases, do not use anything with an open flame. If you notice a gas-like smell, vacate the building and contact your local utility company.
  • Do not operate electrical equipment when standing in water.

"When in doubt, seek an expert."

Source: http://www.ehs.health.state.nd.us/ndhd/prevent/disease/epi/jan97/jan97.htm (North Dakota Epidemiology Report Web Site)


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