Flooded? Follow the evidence

A double whammy from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee drenched the east coast over the past two weeks leading to swollen rivers, flooded valleys and the destruction of roadways, bridges and buildings from Vermont to Maryland.

As communities in eastern and central New York, from the southern Adirondacks to the Pennsylvania border, continue to struggle under the deluge, Cornell Cooperative Extension has information that can help.

The New York Extension Disaster Education Network, or NY EDEN, is a collaborative network based at Cornell dedicated to educating New York residents about preparing for and recovering from natural disasters.

The network offers dozens of evidence-based tips on how to protect your property, remain safe, and clean-up after serious flooding.  Among their recommendations:

  • Over half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water, according to the Centers for Disease Control.  That’s because most people underestimate the force of flood water.  It takes only two fee of rushing floodwater to carry away most vehicles. So if you come across an area covered with water, turn around.
  • Check for cracks in the foundation, shifted walls and a roofline out of position before re-entering a building that is flooded.
  • Turn off the electricity in a flooded building before touching any electrical devices or walking through a flooded basement.
  • Furniture that has been flooded and has porous materials such as leather, fabric should be discarded because it will likely produce dangerous molds in your home. For other furniture, take it outside and remove as many parts as possible. Use a solution of one part water and one part ammonia to wipe down the furniture, then move it to a well-ventilated, shady spot to dry.  (Wood furniture dried in the sun will warp.)

Stay safe and don’t forget to refer to the evidence when cleaning up after a flood!


  1. […] on EBL, we’ve discussed some of the evidence-based tactics for dealing with flooding.  Now a new systematic review by the Cochrane Collaboration reviews the data available on […]

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