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Posted at 01:57 PM ET, 08/28/2011

Hurricane Irene aftermath: Tips on safe cleanup


Charlie Priola, owner of Mangia Italian Grill & Sports Cafe, clears the tarps away from his business in downtown Annapolis. (Jonathan Newton - WASHINGTON POST)
The worst of Hurricane Irene has passed in the D.C. region. And even if you followed the pre-hurricane advice from the experts, you are likely still dealing with some storm fallout. Here are some post-hurricane tips from emergency officials around the region:

Stay away from fallen wires; assume all of them are live.

Don’t enter your home if you smell gas; report it to authorities.

If you live in an area that was evacuated, don’t go home until authorities say it’s safe.

Watch out for snakes and other wildlife in areas that have been flooded.

Run your generator outside; exhaust fumes contain carbon monoxide which can be deadly.

Keep generator fuel outside.

Report power outages: Don’t assume your neighbors will do so.

Check your foundation, roof and chimney for cracks. Leave the house if you suspect something may collapse.

If appliances are wet, turn off the electricity source to the house. Unplug appliances and let them dry. Have a professional check appliances and the electrical system before restoring power.

Don’t flush your toilet until you know sewage lines are intact.

If pipes are damaged, turn off the main water valve. Check with local authorities before using the water — it may be contaminated.

Pump out wells and have the water tested by authorities before drinking.

Throw out any food that came into contact with flood water.

Basement walls can collapse if the room is pumped out too quickly. Remove only about a third of the water per day.

Disinfect anything that may have been touched by raw sewage or floodwaters.

Take pictures of damage, record your cleanup costs and call your insurance company.

Do you have more cleanup tips? Add them to the comments below.

By Washington Post Staff  |  01:57 PM ET, 08/28/2011

 
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