BUSINESS

Two counties will assess flood damage

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

By DENISE GRANT

Staff Writer

They also are advising those who re-enter homes and businesses that flooded to use caution.

The Blanchard fell below flood stage at Findlay on Tuesday, and did the same at Ottawa on Wednesday night.

Steve Odenweller, director of the Putnam County Emergency Management Agency, said his office will begin working on Putnam County damage totals today.

Hancock County Emergency Management Agency Director Lee Swisher said his office also will begin compiling estimates on the Findlay flood damage today and Friday.

The American Red Cross will distribute free cleanup kits to flood victims in Hancock, Seneca and Wyandot counties.

Kits will be handed out from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today at the Red Cross office at 125 Fair St., Findlay; from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday at the Red Cross office in the Tiffin Mall, 870 W. Market St.; and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday at the Red Cross office on the second floor of Liberty Center Church, 102 S. Seventh St., Upper Sandusky.

The kits include a mop, broom, trash bags, disinfectant, gloves and other supplies, and come in a five-gallon bucket.

"Contaminants are often left behind after the floodwaters recede and there is a good chance of mold developing if areas affected by the flood aren't cleaned and disinfected well," said Red Cross Director Cheryl Wolfe. "We want to make sure anyone who needs cleaning supplies has them."

The Blanchard River crested at Findlay at 15.37 feet, which is about 2 feet above major flood stage, at 3:30 a.m. Monday. That flood level was the 11th highest in Findlay's history.

The river fell below flood stage at Findlay at about noon Tuesday. By 10 p.m. Wednesday, the river level was 2.78 feet at Findlay.

Downstream at Ottawa, the river crested at 28.85 feet at 10 a.m. Monday, falling short of major flood stage there. Flood stage at Ottawa starts at 23 feet and major flood stage begins at 30 feet.

The river fell below flood stage at Ottawa on Wednesday night.

Residents and business owners whose properties flooded should be aware of electrical, gas and water dangers.

The Emergency Management Agency issued the following cautions for those returning to structures affected by flooding:

"¢ Have an experienced electrician check the electrical system before turning the service back on, and do not turn on power if standing in water. Do not turn on power if the electrical panel or any individual outlets or appliances have been in water.

If there is electrical arcing, visible smoke or the smell of smoke, call 911 immediately, Odenweller said.

Power companies should also be contacted in case of emergency.

"¢ A contractor should also inspect, clean and re-ignite gas appliances. If there is a smell of gas, contact the utility company immediately.

"¢ Water wells that have been surrounded by floodwater should be tested by the county Health Department.

Odenweller said people who have come into contact with floodwater should also be up-to-date on their tetanus vaccination. The supply of the vaccine is scarce, he said, so call ahead.

Residents and business owners are also being advised to contact their insurance company before discarding anything.

Flood-damaged items should be bagged and discarded separately from regular trash, recyclables, or other materials.

Grant: 419-427-8412

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