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Health & Human Services (HHS) Information

Are you or a loved one dealing with the aftermath of a disaster? Iowa HHS provides resources and important information related to disasters that impact Iowa, such as floods and tornadoes.

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Propane Gas Safety

Floods can damage your propane equipment. A large propane tank can become dislodged from its service line and float away, striking trees, vehicles, or other heavy objects along its path. Also, water and debris can find their way inside regulators and controls, causing potential safety issues. 

In addition, fallen trees and power lines can create extra safety concerns. Do not under any circumstances try to modify or repair valves, regulators or other appliance parts. If you suspect any of your propane appliances, equipment, or vehicles have been under water or they have been damaged, or you have turned off your gas supply: do not use or operate appliances, equipment, or vehicles, or turn on the gas supply, until your system has been inspected by a qualified service technician. 

If your gas supply has been turned off or if any propane appliances, or equipment have been under water or damaged, you must have a qualified service technician perform a complete inspection and leak test before the gas system is restored to service. If you find a propane tank on your property that is not yours, or if your propane tank has become dislodged or is missing, contact your propane supplier or your local fire department immediately.

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Generator Safety

Generators can be helpful during a power outage, but they present serious health and safety concerns.

Carbon monoxide poisoning

  • Do not assume that you are safe. Carbon monoxide from generators is completely colorless and odorless, so you won’t know if it’s there. It could kill your family and your pets.
  • Do not use a generator indoors or in partially enclosed spaces- including homes, garages, and crawl spaces - even those areas with partial ventilation.
  • Do not operate near open doors and windows. Using fans will not prevent carbon monoxide build-up in the home.
  • Install battery-powered carbon monoxide alarms inside your home to alert you of dangerous levels. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's recommended placement.

Learn how to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning (Espanol)

Use Generators Safely at Home

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Floods and Water Well Information

Contaminated well water can make you sick. Never consume water from a well if there is any chance the well has been impacted by flood waters. You need to test your well water to determine if it is safe. 

Floods can cause water quality problems with water supply wells - even if your well isn't directly in the flooded area. During a flood, the increased groundwater loading nearby a well can cause well contamination. Contaminated surface water can also leak into a well through defects in the well's casing or physically run over the top of the well and cause direct contamination of the aquifer.

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Floodwater Safety

Stay out of floodwater—it can contain many things that can hurt you or make you sick.

  • Prevent injuries. Floodwater may contain sharp objects, such as glass or metal fragments, that can cause injury and lead to infection.
  • Prevent infection of open wounds and rashes. Open wounds and rashes exposed to floodwater can become infected.
  • Be aware that floodwater may contain sewage, and eating or drinking anything contaminated by floodwater can cause diarrheal disease (such as E. coli or Salmonella infection).
  • Protect yourself from animal and insect bites. Floodwater can displace animals, insects, and reptiles. To protect yourself and your family, be alert and avoid contact.
  • Be aware of possible chemicals in floodwater. Floods can cause containers of chemicals to move from their normal storage spots.

More Floodwater Safety Resources from the CDC

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Mold Clean-up

Mold can cause serious health problems. The key to mold control is moisture control. After the flood, remove standing water and dry indoor areas. Remove and discard anything that has been wet for more than 24-48 hours.

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Standing Water and Mosquitos

Mosquitos can sharply increase after a flood, due to the sudden availability of standing water which they require for breeding -- even very small amounts of water. As flood waters recede, be sure to drain, overturn, or empty areas -- no matter how small -- to reduce mosquito breeding areas and help reduce the spread of mosquito-borne diseases.

  • Get rid of standing water in rain gutters, old tires, buckets, plastic covers, toys, pools, or any other containers.
  • Empty water from damaged materials that aren't usually outdoors, such as discarded furniture, household items, bookshelves, building materials, trash, etc.
  • Drain wet areas and puddles of water, or fill them with dirt.

Check out these Mosquito Control Resources

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