Storm Season Safety: Returning Home After a Flood


As a result of mudslides and debris flows from the recent storms, California continues to see lingering major impacts, like muck, mud and other debris.

Once your local authorities have declared it safe to return home, it’s crucial to prioritize safety and take necessary precautions. The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services is here to help you navigate your return to a safe home, after the flood.

Inspect your home carefully and wear proper clothing like goggles, gloves and boots to protect yourself from contaminants.


As the waters recede, drying your home and removing water-damaged items are critical to keep your family safe.

  • Open doors and windows if the air outside is drier than the air indoors. Use fans to help dry the air.
  • Use a wet vac to clean up standing water if it is safe to do so.
  • Anything that got wet with floodwater and can’t be cleaned and dried out completely within 24 to 48 hours should be taken outside.
  • For insurance, take photos of items that you throw out.


If your home was significantly impacted by the storm, it’s possible you may return to a home full of muck, mud and other debris.

  • While cleaning mud, protect your eyes, nose, mouth, and skin with goggles, mask, and gloves.
  • Shovel out as much mud as you can.
  • Make sure the electricity is turned off. Use a hose to spray your home down, inside and out. If you have an attachment that sprays soap, wash and then rinse floors, walls, and any heating and air conditioning ducts that flooded.
  • Use a mop, wet vac, or squeegee to get water off the floor.


You may not be able to save everything after flooding, so focus on what’s most important to you. You may need to hire professional help to replace and dispose of effected drywall and insulation.

  • Wash clothes, towels, bedding, and other fabrics that got wet from the floodwaters by using very hot water and detergent.
  • You may be able to air-dry damp mattresses, couches, or other soft furniture in the sun. When dry, spray well with disinfectant. If you aren’t sure if it is fully dry all the way through, throw it out.
  • Disinfect hard surfaces touched by floodwaters like floors, countertops, sinks, and dishes with soap, warm water and bleach.


Flood Cleanup & Stopping Mold – English (