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Flood damage clean-up must properly be done to keep victims safe

Many flood victims are facing the challenge of cleaning up after their properties were damaged by the floods.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) – Many flood victims are facing the challenge of cleaning up after their properties were damaged by the floods.

People have to make the daunting decision of what is salvageable and what must be thrown out.

Cleaning professional Bill Good with SERVPRO Syracuse warns that the victims will have to let go of some of their priceless possessions.

"The challenge is, people don't want to throw some things away, but you're taking a risk by keeping it,” said Bill Good.

Anything classified as “porous” should be thrown away. Porous items include things such as mattresses, furniture and books.

"All the soft goods have to be removed, the carpet, the pad, it acts like a sponge and it's just going to help start growing mold type problems,” Good said.

People may want to tear buckling wood floors and remove walls and the insulation behind it.

Good says to make sure to cut a few feet above the water line.

"Even though it's showing a water line to 2 feet, that water wicks up the wall. It's like putting a tissue in a bowl, it just runs, it climbs right up because the dry wall's chalky,” Good said.

When cleaning, Good suggests wearing rubber gloves and clean walls and surfaces with soap and water. To disinfect, use a combination of bleach and water.

"All of the water is considered a Category 3 water, there's pathogens in it, it's unhealthy,” Good said. "We're working in sludge, mud and muck. Tetanus is normally found in soil and debris. Even though somebody doesn't have a large cut, small scrapes, multiple small scrapes does put you at a risk for tetanus."

Herkimer County is distributing Tetanus vaccines to first responders and is talking with the state about releasing more to make them available to flood victims.

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