American Red Cross releases Flood Cleanup Safety Tips
Waverly, TN – American Red Cross disaster responders from across Tennessee and the nation are on the ground in Houston County, Hickman County, Humphreys County, and Dickson County assisting survivors of the historic flooding on August 21st, 2021.
The area received up to 17 inches of rain in 12 hours and is being called the deadliest flooding event in Tennessee history.
Twenty people died in the swift-flowing floodwaters, and hundreds are displaced from their homes.
The Red Cross is in the area to provide damage assessment and assistance to residents.
Red Cross is providing sheltering assistance with our local partners and our volunteers are out in the areas affected providing clean-up and comfort kits, snacks, and meals to comfort people impacted by floods.
“The clean-up has begun in Middle Tennessee,” said Joel Sullivan, Regional Executive Director for the American Red Cross. “We know people want to salvage what they can from their homes, but with so many homes underwater, there are specific steps you need to take to ensure you and your family’s safety as you pick up the pieces and clean out homes.”
Tips for Returning Home Safely After a Flood
- Do not enter a building until it has been inspected for damage to the electrical system, gas lines, septic systems, and water lines or wells.
- Wear appropriate protective equipment such as gloves, safety glasses, rubber boots, and masks to protect you from debris and airborne particles, e.g., mold and dust.
- Take pictures of home damage, both of the buildings and their contents, for insurance purposes.
- Do not use electrical equipment if it is wet or if you are standing in water.
- Use a flashlight; do not use candles during a power outage due to extreme risk of fire.
- Stay out of any building that has water around it.
- Keep away from loose or dangling power lines. Report them immediately to the power company.
Cleaning and Repairing Your Home
- Wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and rubber boots, and be cautious when cleaning up.
- Open doors and windows. If the house was closed for more than 48 hours, air it out before staying inside for any length of time.
- Remove any remaining water, large amounts of dirt/mud, damaged items, and other trash.
- Clean hard surfaces throughout your home (flooring, countertops, and appliances) thoroughly with hot water and soap or a detergent. Then disinfect with bleach or a commercial disinfectant (be sure to follow directions on the bottle).
- Dry soft surfaces (upholstered furniture, rugs, bedding, and clothing) in the open air if possible, before cleaning. If items were underwater, they cannot be sanitized and cleaned.
- Throw out all food, beverages, and medicine exposed to floodwaters and mud. When in doubt, throw it out. This includes canned goods, plastic utensils, baby bottle nipples, and containers with food or liquid that has been sealed shut.
- Any appliances that were inundated by floodwater should be checked by a professional before you use them.
Cleaning and sanitizing food contact surfaces
- Throw away wooden cutting boards, wood or plastic utensils, and baby bottle nipples, and pacifiers that have come into contact with floodwater.
- Use hot, soapy water to thoroughly wash metal pans, ceramic dishes, and utensils that have come into contact with floodwater.
- Sanitize dishes by boiling them in clean or properly treated water or by immersing them for 10 to 15 min in a solution of 1 tablespoon of unscented liquid of unscented liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water.
Health officials also remind residents to be sure to know your tetanus shot history. If you need a booster, your local health department, or primary physician can provide that to you.
Disaster Recovery Updates August 23rd
- Red Cross volunteers continue to reach out to access areas affected to provide support to citizens. Many roadways are unpassable still, but our disaster volunteers will continue to seek communities that need assistance as it is safe to do so. If you know of someone in need of assistance, please contact us at 1.800.RED CROSS.
- Red Cross continues working with our shelter partners, feeding and supplying a safe place for residents to sleep that have had their homes were damaged or destroyed.
- A Red Cross managed feeding kitchen has been established at Apex Bank in Waverly. From that location, our crews will load up 2,500 hot meals per day to support mobile feeding in the community.
- Red Cross is working closely with local officials, community partners, and Emergency Management Agencies to assess community needs.
- Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicles are working their way through affected neighborhoods supplying hot food, clean-up, and comfort kits to residents. Supplies will include rakes, shovels, tarps, cases of water, and snacks for clean-up. Each client household will receive a plastic tote filled with work gloves, flashlight, a roll of trash bags, dust mask, hand sanitizer, and sunscreen among other items.
- Red Cross is working with the Health Department to provide nursing support for the community’s health needs.
- Disaster Mental Health volunteers are on-site providing assistance to anyone in need of help.
- All services of the American Red Cross are being provided with strict COVID protocols to ensure safety for clients, staff, and the volunteer workforce. This includes a mask mandate regardless of vaccine status.
- Red Cross is working with FEMA and other partners at the Multi-Agency Resource Center at Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 109 North Church St. in Waverly. This site will open for the public on August 28th and will operate daily from 8:00am to 7:00pm This is a “one stop shop” site for services and assistance registration.
YMCA Dickson County
225 Henslee Drive
Dickson, TN 37055
Fairfield Church of Christ
Centerville, TN 37033
Waverly First Baptist Church
300 E. Main Street
Waverly, TN 37185
Help is Available
Disasters are upsetting experiences for everyone involved. Children, senior citizens, people with disabilities, and people for whom English is not their first language are especially at risk and are likely to need extra care and help.
To reach out for free 24/7 counseling or support, contact the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1.800.985.5990.
Download the Red Cross Emergency App for real-time weather alerts, open shelters, and expert advice on what to do after a disaster. The Emergency App is available for free in-app stores by searching “American Red Cross” or going to redcross.org/apps.
If you are interested in learning about volunteering with the?Red Cross, or to make a financial donation,?check out RedCross.org/Tennessee or call 1.800.Red?Cross.
Visit redcross.org/flood for full flood safety information.