LINDENWOLD, N.J. – Camden County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is finalizing its damage assessment after the severe flooding and disaster declaration the State made last week.
OEM has been working alongside local counterparts in the affected towns and boroughs throughout the county, as well as alongside the New Jersey State Police Office of Emergency Management to verify reported damage that will be audited and sent to the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA).
“Based on the damage wrought by last week’s storm, our OEM coordinator has been working alongside our local and state partners to determine the preliminary damage assessment to our county,” Freeholder Jonathan Young, liaison to the Department of Public Safety said in a press release. “Based on our data we have more than $9 million of personal and public destruction that took place countywide after receiving more than 5 inches of rain in about five hours.”
Residents who were victims of last week’s flooding should continue to work with professionals in order to ensure that their homes are safe for habitation. Residents who had to evacuate their home should not re-enter their home until professionals have determined that there are no structural, electrical, or other potential hazards remaining.
Flooding can cause severe health issues as a result of standing water and wet conditions, the County warns. After flood waters have subsided, homeowners should safely remove any items which cannot be washed and disinfected and discard them immediately including mattresses, carpeting, rugs, stuffed animals, baby toys, pillows, books, and many other items. All hard surfaces must be thoroughly cleaned with hot water and laundry or dish detergent.
“Flood waters can contain sewage and other contaminants, making it extremely important that you protect yourself and your family from potential illness by following these procedures,” Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez, liaison to the Department of Health, said. “Even a week after these flooding incidents, you should be checking for, and disposing of, items that have been affected by flood waters.”
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed several resources for homeowners and renters affected by flooding and related damages. Important tools such as The Homeowner’s and Renter’s Guide to Mold Cleanup After Disasters and FEMA’s Creating a Healthy Home: A Field Guide for Clean-Up of Flooded Homes supply needed information regarding safe and effective site cleanup.
“It is imperative for residents to make prudent decisions if water has entered the home, and to ensure that they are coming back into a clean and safe environment,” Rodriguez said.
The County reminds residents affected by flooding that recovery is a process that takes time. In the meantime, residents are encouraged to take the following steps:
- Contact your insurance company (auto and homeowners) and file a claim (if claim is denied, keep the denial letter)
- Take photographs of everything
- Keep receipts of any disaster-related expenses, such as lodging, medical, repair and cleaning supplies, etc.
- Make a list of the major items that have been damaged, such as utilities, appliances, furniture, and personal property
Affected residents who have immediate needs such as shelter, food, water, clothing, etc., should call 2-1-1. If it is an emergency, call 9-1-1.