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Chicago Flood Victims Get Help From Red Cross with Cleanup Kits

By Patty Wetli | April 21, 2013 11:44am | Updated on April 21, 2013 3:04pm
 An evacuee gets a lift from the Chicago Fire Department during Thursday's flooding.
An evacuee gets a lift from the Chicago Fire Department during Thursday's flooding.
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DNAinfo/Patty Wetli

ALBANY PARK — As the cleanup continues in Albany Park after Thursday's flooding of the Chicago River, the American Red Cross is stepping in with free brooms, mops and plenty of bleach.

Residents can pick up free cleaning supplies — available on a first-come, first-served basis — 7 a.m. - 6 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday (pending availability), at the city's flood command center, 5060 N. Pulaski Rd. The Red Cross originally said the kits would be available Monday and Tuesday.

The Red Cross also provides a comprehensive flood recovery guide online, with instructions on how to clean and sanitize your home.

Among the tips: Do not use bleach on aluminum or linoleum. Upholstered furniture soaked by floodwater should be thrown out — if the piece is valuable or an antique, have it cleaned by a professional.

Books and papers can be salvaged with a fair amount of effort. First, rinse the items and then place them in the freezer. Once thawed, dry the items with a blow dryer — don't try to force the photos or papers apart, just keep drying them.

When rebuilding, give your house plenty of time to dry. After visible signs of moisture have disappeared, allow at least another week for hidden moisture to evaporate.

Though flooding can be unpredictable, communities can take small measures to help protect their homes in the future — one simple action is to keep storm drains clear of debris.

Officials are urging homeowners to document all damage to their property — take photos, hang onto receipts and file a claim with your insurance company, regardless of whether you think your policy covers flooding or not.

For Albany Park residents still waiting for their gas to be turned back on, Peoples Gas has set up a hotline — call 800-924-2850.

Finally, beware of home repair scam artists, particularly those offering their services door-to-door. Call 9-1-1 if you spot one of these unscrupulous individuals in your neighborhood.