As the flood waters across Missouri continue to recede, residents who had to evacuate their homes may soon be returning to take a look at the damage left behind.
Gale Blomenkamp, Assistant Chief with the Boone County Fire Protection District, said there may still be some hidden dangers inside the home.
“They just need to be cautious because not every inch of that place has been looked at by the local emergency management team, or by the state, or by the local county jurisdiction,” he said. “So they just need to understand there still could be live wires. There still could be gas leaks.”
Blomenkamp also said residents should check for any settling in the foundation outside of the home before entering.
The American Red Cross advises residents returning to their homes to throw out any items that have come in contact with the flood water such as food, water bottles and utensils. Cleaning products, paint, batteries and contaminated fuel should also be discarded.
Reggie Kinser, Project Manager at ServiceMASTER in Columbia, said the flood waters could contain toxic chemicals and bacteria similar to sewage.
“Surface ground water falls in that same category, so it needs to be dealt with in the same way,” he said. “So that means that all soft goods and porous goods need to be removed.”
Kinser said residents should first get rid of things like their carpet before the home can dry out, which he said takes anywhere from three to five days if taken care of right away.
“If it sits longer, then you could be looking at two to three weeks and you’re also looking at a lot more demolition because of the amount of soft and porous goods that must come out first,” he said. “So the quicker you get on it, you minimize the damage, the cost of the clean up, everything is a whole lot easier.”