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The cleanup and aftermath of the historic Atlanta flood - Atlanta Northside Family & Parenting

Floodwaters are receding. Schools and roads are re-opening; but for thousands of Atlanta families, the cleanup after Atlanta's historic, 100-year flood is just beginning. Layers of thick, dark mud and lives that will be altered forever remain in the flood aftermath.

Families are just beginning to see the damage caused by what meteorologists are calling the "perfect storm." Finally able to return to their homes, flood victims are coming to grips with the reality of how an unnamed storm could cause such havoc. To help with the process, the Red Cross is traveling to affected communities to offer hope, a cool beverage and a warm hug. That may not be enough for the thousands of people who must now rebuild their lives, or start from scratch.

Five Metro Atlanta Red Cross shelters remain open for displaced storm victims. They are located at First United Methodist Church in Lawrenceville, the Cobb Civic Center, Hiram High School, Clairmont Presbyterian Church in Decatur and the Cherokee Recreation and Parks Agency south annex in Woodstock.

Goodbye Water is a locally owned emergency water removal company that offers the following tips for homeowners or renters with water damage.

Water Damage DON'T's:

Don't remove water with an ordinary household vacuum cleaner. It can be dangerous.

When standing on wet carpets or floors, don't use electrical appliances.

If the electricity is still on, don't enter rooms where there is standing water; it could carry a shock.

Water Damage DO's:

If the outside temperature is above 60 degrees, use dehumidifiers if possible.

Use fans to circulate the air and assist with drying.

In cases of extreme flooding, call an emergency water removal company.

Additional resources for flood victims:

"Repairing Your Flooded Home" booklet is offered by the American Red Cross. Call (404) 575-3730 to request a copy.

The Centers for Disease Control also offers tips for re-entering a flooded home. It includes step-by-step instructions for re-entering your home for the first time and drying out your house.

With in 48 hours of a flood, dangerous mold and mildew can begin to grow. It will be especially important to call a professional to tackle this tough issue.

Safety Tips for flood victims:

Assume water is contaminated in your home. Don't allow children to play in floodwaters. Be sure to wash hands with soap and water that has been boiled. Discard items that cannot be washed or disinfected, like mattresses, carpeting, stuffed animals, pillows and paper products. Remove and discard drywall and insulation that has been contaminated with sewage or flood waters.

Beware of hazards when entering your home:

Watch for snakes and other animals forced into your home by floodwaters.

Use flashlights, not candles.

Wear protective clothing and sturdy shoes as you begin the cleanup process.

Check for structural damage.

Throw away all foods, including canned goods, that have come into contact with floodwaters.

Check electricity and water. If you suspect structural damage, contact a professional to check water, gas, electric and sewer lines.

Sources: Goodbyewater.com, AJC

More articles about the historic Atlanta flood:

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