April 30, 2008
Augusta- In light of flooding in Northern and Western Maine, Governor John Baldacci today urged people affected by rising waters to take precautions to stay safe.
Drivers should avoid water covered roads, especially when the water is moving fast. As little as six inches of water can cause drivers to lose control their vehicles. Cars caught in as little two feet of water can be washed away, placing occupants at risk of drowning. For information on road conditions, call the Maine Department of Transportation Travel Information Service at 511 or go online to www.511maine.com.
A variety of hazards are present when sources of electricity and electrical appliances are exposed to floodwaters. Submerged outlets, electrical cords, or appliances may energize floodwater in homes, creating an electrocution hazard to people who come into contact with water.
Water and silt can damage circuit breakers, fuse boxes, receptacles, appliances, plugs and switches and those items should be inspected by a professional or be replaced if they have been submerged. Power cord connections should be kept dry and grounded in with a three prong plug. Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) can help prevent shock injuries and electrocutions. Portable GFCI units require no tools to install and cost under $30.
Follow manufacturer’s instructions when using sump pumps, wet-dry vacuums, humidifiers, power washers, and other equipment used in cleaning-up water damage.
Drinking Water Safety
After a flood, drinking water supplies may be contaminated. If bottled water is unavailable, boil water or disinfect it with bleach to make it safe. If the water is cloudy, filter it through clean cloths, or allow it to settle and draw off the clear water. Boil the water for one minute, let it cool, and store it in clean containers with covers. Or, add 1/8th of a teaspoon (or 8 drops) of regular, unscented, liquid household bleach for each gallon of water, stir it well, and let it stand for 30 minutes before you use it. Bleach will kill some, but not all, types of disease-causing organisms. Flooded wells should be tested and disinfected after the flood waters recede. Visit MainePublicHealth.gov for specific advice.
“People in flooded regions face dangerous and unpredictable conditions,” said Governor Baldacci. “Being aware of the hazards and taking simple safety precautions can help people stay safe in the days ahead.”
State and community resources for flood victims can be found by calling 211 or going online to http://www.211maine.org.