Pearl City Clean Up

By: Erica Hurtt
By: Erica Hurtt

Pearl City residents are calling it the worst flooding in 100 years. Friday they're cleaning up and estimating damages from Thursday’s floods.

Thursday, all Pearl City residents could do was sit back and watch the water rise as high as seven feet in some spots. But Friday they had to face the daunting task of cleaning up and estimating damage.

The buzz of water pumps fill the air in Pearl City, and rowboats are the only mode of transportation in some parts of town after heavy rain pushed yellow creek way beyond its limits.

"This is the worse flooding I’ve ever seen. It's a mess,” says Pearl City Resident Chuck Knopp.

Knopp is assessing the damage and trying to stay positive as more than four feet of water stands in his basement and his backyard has turned into a lake.

"I’ll be a big mess I know that. There's a lot of oil and stuff in the water. Cleaning the swimming pool will be tough and the basement. I'll probably have to strip it and redo it,” says Knopp.

The Red Cross is aiding residents, providing meals, cleaning supplies and shelter.

"We’re handing out cleanup kits and giving residents instructions on how to disinfect and what things to keep and what to throw out,” says Pat Zawlocki of the Rockford Red Cross.

While immediate needs are being met, financial realities are soaking in for many of these residents who don't have flood insurance.

"I don't think we're covered for flooding so i guess it will come out of my pocket,” says Knopp.

The water dropped quite a bit today and the Red Cross will stay in the area as long as needed.

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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 which 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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