MAYVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) — Residents in water-ravaged regions of Chautauqua County are now putting their lives back together following historic floods.
Those with damaged homes, basements and property are receiving some help from government and agencies devoted to helping those in need. The Chautauqua County government is offering up advice to those still cleaning up.
Officials say first priority should be examining water supply and food safety to maintain health. They say those with private wells should boil water, conduct testing and use extreme caution, especially with baby formula. Those with wells should also disinfect the wells.
Floodwater brings with it many dangers, including the risk for contamination, as officials confirm several wastewater treatment plants discharged sewage water during the floods. Therefore officials advise never entering floodwater with an open wound, never swimming in floodwater and always discard food which has come into contact with the water.
Other items should be discarded as well, including those that will come into contact with food, like wooden cutting boards, plastic utensils and anything which a baby may come into contact with.
The Red Cross is offering its help to those in need. They helped out victims displaced during floods across Chautauqua County, and now they’re offering flood clean-up kits to those who are working on rebuilding.
They’ll offer the clean-up kits to families on Thursday between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Westfield Central School, but they’ll also be available for pick-up at Silver Creek’s Department of Public Works. Anybody interested in picking up a kit at a Silver Creek location should call (716) 934-3240.
The Red Cross had additional tips for those dealing with floods:
- Return home only when officials have declared the area safe.
- Before entering your home, look outside for loose power lines, damaged gas lines, foundation cracks or other damage.
- Parts of your home may be collapsed or damaged. Approach entrances carefully. See if porch roofs and overhangs have all their supports.
- Watch out for wild animals, especially poisonous snakes that may have come into your home with the floodwater.
- If you smell natural or propane gas or hear a hissing noise, leave immediately and call the fire department.
- If power lines are down outside your home, do not step in puddles or standing water.
- Keep children and pets away from hazardous sites and floodwater.
- Materials such as cleaning products, paint, batteries, contaminated fuel and damaged fuel containers are hazardous. Check with local authorities for assistance with disposal to avoid risk.
- During cleanup, wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and rubber boots.
- Make sure your food and water are safe. Discard items that have come in contact with floodwater, including canned goods, water bottles, plastic utensils and baby bottle nipples. When in doubt, throw it out!
- Contact your local or state public health department to see if your water supply might be contaminated. You may need to boil or treat it before use. Do not use water that could be contaminated to wash dishes, brush teeth, prepare food, wash hands, make ice or make baby formula!