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Generator Safety and Flood Cleanup Tips

Post Date:10/10/2016 10:00 a.m.
As local utility providers are working to restore power to residents and business in Dare County; generator safety is of utmost importance. The primary hazards to avoid when using a generator are carbon monoxide poisoning from the toxic engine exhaust, electric shock or electrocution, and fire. 

Never Use a Portable Generator Indoors. This includes inside a garage, carport, basement, crawlspace, or other enclosed or partially-enclosed area, even with ventilation. Opening doors and windows or using fans will not prevent carbon monoxide buildup in the home. Carbon Monoxide can't be seen or smelled. Even if you cannot smell exhaust fumes, you may still be exposed to Carbon Monoxide. If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak while using a generator, get to fresh air RIGHT AWAY - DO NOT DELAY. 

Keep the generator dry and do not use it in rain or wet conditions. To protect from moisture, operate it on a dry surface. Dry your hands before touching the generator. 

Never try to power the house wiring by plugging the generator into a wall outlet; a practice known as "backfeeding." This is an extremely dangerous practice that presents an electrocution risk to utility workers and neighbors served by the same utility transformer. It also bypasses some of the built-in household circuit protection devices 

If your home is flooded during Hurricane Matthew - Before going back to live in your home, take the following steps to safely clean your home: 

Get the mess out. Remove all floodwater, dirt, and debris left behind by the floodwater. 

Remove mold and mildew. Any materials or furnishings that soaked up water should be removed from the building. 

Check out the floors. Carpet and padding cannot be cleaned well enough to prevent mold and mildew from growing. Throw them away. 

Dry out walls. Walls that were wet should be stripped to the studs and the insulation removed. Walls must remain open to allow them to completely dry. Other wall cavities should be inspected for visible mold growth. Any area inside a wall cavity with visible mold growth should be opened, cleaned, decontaminated and dried. 

Check Heating Ventilation and Air-Conditioning Systems (HVAC) . The inside parts of heating and air-conditioning systems that contacted floodwater are hiding places for mold. The interior will need to be inspected, cleaned and decontaminated by professionals. Air registers (vents) and diffusers should be removed, cleaned, disinfected and reinstalled. 

Salvage what you can. Personal property and furnishings that are moist or wet 24 hours after floodwater recedes will have mold growing in or on them. Upholstered furniture, mattresses, and furniture made of particleboard or wafer board should be thrown away. 

Remove contaminants. Make sure that any chemical contamination and hazardous materials have been removed from the building. For proper disposal, contact your local waste disposal service. 

Make sure that all parts of the building are dry before rebuilding or repairing. Mold will grow on replacement materials if the studs, subfloor or other building parts are not completely dry. 

To ensure you clean and dry the right way, follow these instructions: 
Nonporous materials (materials that don't soak up water) and furnishings and other surfaces should be thoroughly cleaned, disinfected and allowed to dry completely. First, scrub all surfaces with detergent and water and rinse well. (Scrubbing removes mold, mold spores, and the dirt that mold and mildew can grow on.) Then, disinfect everything. A liquid chlorine bleach solution (one cup bleach to one gallon water) should be used to disinfect and kill any remaining mold and mildew. 

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