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November 18, 2021 3:05 p.m.

Flood Recovery Guidance from Skagit County Public Health

When returning to a home that’s been flooded after a natural disaster, be aware that your house may be contaminated by floodwaters, mold, or sewage, all of which can cause health risks for your family. Below are some tips for Skagitonians who may be returning home after flooding.
When you first reenter your home.
Try to return to your home during the daytime so that you do not have to use any lights. Use battery-powered flashlights and lanterns, rather than candles, or gas lanterns.

  • If you have standing water in your home and can turn off the main power from a dry location, then go ahead and turn off the power, even if it delays cleaning. If you must enter standing water to access the main power switch, then call an electrician to turn it off. NEVER turn power on or off yourself or use an electric tool or appliance while standing in water.
  • If you smell gas or suspect a leak, turn off the main gas valve, open all windows, and leave your house immediately. Notify the gas company or the police or fire departments or State Fire Marshal’s office, and do not turn on the lights or do anything that could cause a spark. Do not return until you are told it is safe to do so.
  • If the house has been closed for several days, enter briefly to open doors and windows to let the house air out for a while (at least 30 minutes) before you stay for any length of time.
  • If your home has been flooded and has been closed for several days, assume your home has mold.
  • If your home has been flooded, it also may be contaminated with sewage. See Floodwater After a Disaster or Emergency.

Once you are safely in your home, please continue to use caution. Here are some things to keep in mind once you have reentered your home.

  1. Stay out of floodwater. Click here for more information.
  2. Throw away unsafe food. Click here for more information.
  3. Use safe water. Click here for more information.
  4. Use generators and other electrical equipment safely. Click here and here for more information.
  5. Dry out your home to prevent mold. Click here for more information.
  6. For septic systems. Click here for more information.
  7. Check with your insurance company before beginning to clean.
  8. Clean up your home safely. Click here for more information.

More Resources:

  • For more information about the guidance above, please contact Skagit County Public Health at (360) 416-1500 or email EH@co.skagit.wa.us.
    More information can also be found on the blog: https://bit.ly/3csFrrv 
  • For general questions, call the Department of Emergency Management Flood Hotline at (360) 416-1850.
  • For flood level updates, call the Flood Hotline at (360) 416-1404.
  • For questions about deceased or otherwise impacted animals, call Animal Control at (360) 428-3211.