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Flood Evacuees May Return Home

Sheriff Kim Stewart

Doña Ana County Sheriff Kim Stewart announced that an assessment team evaluated the area in La Union most affected by the flood and deemed it safe for people to return to their homes.

No street parking will be allowed in La Union because streets need to be accessible during the restoration period.

“Water service has been restored and the roads are sufficiently cleared,” Stewart said.  “Please remain cautious and remember that the roads are not yet fully restored and may have dangerous sections that should be approached with care.”

The Home Depot, 225 N. Telshor Blvd. in Las Cruces donated cleaning supplies to residents who were affected by the flood.

“Among the top concerns people may find upon their return home are mold, structural damage, septic systems, debris and water safety,” Stephen Lopez, Office of Emergency Management Supervisor said.  “Upon your return home, the first thing to do is make sure your home is safe.”

Look for signs that it may not be safe yet, such as structural damage caused by flood waters. Below is a list of additional tips:

·         Home is visibly leaning.

·         A wall or roof shifted or collapsed.

·         Doors do not fully open or close because the walls shifted or are not straight.

·         Broken windows caused by walls that shifted.

·         Large debris, like fallen poles or trees struck the home.

·         An odor of propane or natural gas, such as a rotten egg smell.

·         No electricity.

·         Ensure there is no water in the circuit breaker box and the electrical outlets are not under water.

·         Ensure circuit breakers are all in the "ON" position.

·         If circuit breakers are on, but there is still no power, please call El Paso Electric at (915) 877-3400.

If it is safe to enter your home, walk through the structure and make a list of the damages throughout the home. If possible, take pictures throughout the home, paying close attention to any debris inside, water marks on the walls and other obvious damage signs.

“The next step is a thorough cleaning of your home,” Lopez said.  He recommended the following:

•       Remove trash and large solid debris. Place trash inside plastic bags and take to an appropriate waste disposal location. 

•       The South Central Solid Waste Authority will open the La Union Transfer Station, 2590 Visnaga Street in La Union on Monday, Aug. 16 from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. They will remain open seven days a week until further notice. No coupons will be required for La Union residents.

•       Remove any mud or dirt by shovel, sweeping and mopping.

•       If there is any visible mold, do not allow people with asthma, mold allergies or other respiratory conditions to enter until the mold has been completely removed. 

•       If unsure about how to clean or remove mold, consider hiring a licensed contractor. 

Additional guidance can be found at the National Center for Healthy Housing website at www.nchh.org, including Field Guides for flooded home cleanup in English, at https://nchh.org/resource-library/a-field-guide-for-flooded-home-cleanup_english.pdf and in Spanish, at http://bit.ly/NCHHFloodGuide_Espanol.