I want to express my concern to those affected by the recent flooding and hope that you are warm, dry and prepared to face more storms expected over the weekend. We also want to provide you with information on how to report emergency situations and actions to take as the water recedes and cleanup begins.
For those wishing to help, the American Red Cross Silicon Valley Chapter has set up a volunteer station at 2731 North First Street, San Jose, that will be operating from noon to 6 p.m. today (Thursday, February 23).
The Silicon Valley Community Foundation has also set up a webpage to accept donations to help families in need.
If you are unsure about any of the information below, you may call my office at 408-299-5030 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Streets and Roads
- If you live in San Jose, call the City’s Department of Transportation to report downed trees or tree limbs, sewer back-ups, missing or damaged traffic signs, malfunctioning traffic signals or potholes. During weekdays, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., call 408-794-1900; on weekends and holidays and all other times, call 408-277-8956.
- If you live in an unincorporated area of the County or want to report problems on a County-maintained expressway (Almaden, Capitol, Central, Foothill, Lawrence, Montague, Oregon/Page Mill or San Tomas), submit a request for non-emergencies online by filling out the County’s Roads Service Request Form. You can also call the County’s Roads Department at 408-494-2700 during business hours, weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. for traffic signal and street light problems or 408-494-2750 for roadway problems.
- To report a problem on a highway or adjacent property such as the on- and off -ramp signal lights, submit a maintenance service request directly to CalTrans by filling out an online form.
The Santa Clara County Health Officer, Dr. Sara Cody, recommends the following guidelines for anyone who risks coming in contact with flood waters:
- Wash your hands or any other part of your body thoroughly with soap and clean water. If you have children who have come in contact with floodwater, make sure they wash too.
- If you have open cuts or sores, protect them. Keep them as clean as possible by washing with soap and applying an antibiotic ointment to discourage infection. If a wound develops redness, swelling or drainage, contact your health provider and get immediate medical attention.
- Avoid eating any food that may have come in contact with floodwater. If you suspect food came in contact with the water, throw it away. Undamaged, commercially canned foods can be saved if you remove the labels, thoroughly wash the cans and disinfect them with a solution consisting of one tablespoon of bleach in one gallon of water. Food containers with screw caps, snap lids, flip caps, snap caps, twist caps and home-canned foods, however, cannot be disinfected and should be discarded.
- Do not let children play with toys which have been in contact with floodwater until the toys have been disinfected. Disinfect toys using a solution of one cup of bleach in five gallons of water.
The Santa Clara County Department of Environmental Health is providing health and safety guidelines for individuals returning to flooded areas.
- Wear boots and gloves when working in areas which have been flooded.
- Be sure the main electrical switch is off before entering a structure. Do not turn it back on until you are certain there has been no damage to wires or appliances connected to the system.
- Do not use electrical appliances which have been in contact with floodwaters.
- Look carefully for structural damage which could cause injury, i.e., weakened floors, walls or ceilings which might fall or collapse. Watch for exposed nails and other sharp objects.
- Check for wild animals, reptiles and snakes which may have taken up residence to escape the floodwaters. Open all windows and doors to allow them to escape, and avoid trapping or cornering them. Snakes can get inside walls. Be cautious when removing drywall.
- Be especially cautious when approaching sick or injured animals - even household pets.
- Ensure household pets are properly taken care of during recovery operations by providing clean potable water and food to pets. Do not use food that has come into contact with floodwaters.
- Dispose of any small dead animals using gloves and a plastic bag.
- If you smell gas or suspect a gas leak, leave immediately, call 911 and notify the gas company. Warn neighbors of the potential problem.
- Be sure sewer lines are intact before turning on the water or using the toilet.
- Wash hands with soap and water that has been disinfected or boiled.
- Most drinking water in the affected areas is provided by a water retailer. Contact your water retailer for more specific information on water quality in your area and follow guidance from that supplier. Boil or disinfect any water which comes in contact with food preparation tools, containers or surfaces, and water which is used for brushing teeth or washing dishes.
- If you are uncertain about the quality of water, use bottled water. As an alternative, you can use other liquid sources-such as, bottled beverages, the water from the hot water heater tank, the toilet reservoir tank (not the toilet bowl), etc. as long as they did not come into contact with flood waters.
- If your water is supplied directly by a private well, and you suspect your well has been contaminated, contact the Santa Clara County Department of Environmental before using the water or visit the following link for more information on disinfecting your well.
- If you swallow floodwater, you should contact your healthcare provider for more information and guidance.
- For infants, do not use powdered formulas prepared with treated water. Use only pre-prepared baby formula that isn’t condensed and doesn’t require added water.
- Freezer foods may last from 48 to 72 hours if the freezer is full and the door remained closed. If in doubt, throw it out.
- Thawed food can usually be eaten if it is still “refrigerator” cold or refrozen if it still contains ice crystals. Discard any food that has been at room temperature for two hours or more and any food that has an unusual odor, color or texture or that came into contact with floodwaters.
- Discard any garden produce which has come in contact with floodwaters.
- Wash all clothing, bedding and linens in hot water or dry clean them.
- For mattresses and upholstered furniture which cannot be dry cleaned or washed, air dry them in the sun and spray thoroughly with disinfectant.
- Clean walls, hard surfaced floors and other surfaces with soap and water. Disinfect with a solution of one cup of bleach to five gallons of water. Be especially careful to disinfect areas in which food is stored or prepared, such as countertops, pantry shelves, refrigerator walls and shelves.
- Thoroughly wash and disinfect all dishes, utensils, and food preparation equipment.
- Steam clean any carpeting which can be saved.
- If you suspect floodwaters were contaminated with sewage or animal wastes, remove and discard contaminated materials including wall coverings, carpets, rugs, and drywall.
- Careless cleanup can do more harm than good by distributing fungus and bacteria which can grow on wet materials to other areas of the building and into heating and ventilation systems.
- Common household chemicals such as paints, petroleum based products, polishes, gasoline, acids, bases, batteries, poisons, pesticides, gardening chemicals, ammonia, solvents, pool chemicals, propane, helium and small oxygen tanks, smoke detectors, fluorescent lamps, medications, batteries, or flood damaged electronic waste, as examples, should be safely collected and taken to a free drive-through drop off at an HHW event by calling (408) 299-7300 or by signing up online at www.hhw.org.