DES MOINES, Iowa -- Disaster officials urge Iowa residents to take extra precautions when returning to flood-damaged homes, apartments or businesses to avoid accidents and injury. The Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division (HSEMD) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) caution that all danger has not passed simply because the water is receding.

Flood hazards leave behind exposed electrical wires, contaminated floodwater and weakened structures. These are not always obvious, but can be life-threatening.


•       Check the outside of the building: Call your utility company immediately if you see downed power lines, detect gas leaks (Natural gas leaks smell like rotten eggs.) or see water gurgling up from underground.
•       Look for external damage: Examine the foundation for cracks or other damage. Inspect porch roofs, overhangs and the foundation. If you find obvious damage, ask a building inspector to check the building before you go inside.
•       Enter the building carefully: If the door sticks at the top as it opens, it could mean the ceiling is ready to cave in. Don't walk under a sagging ceiling until it has been checked.


•       Turn off the main electricity breakers and valves for water and gas. Even if the power company has turned off electricity to the area, be sure to disconnect your home's main power supply. Have all utility connections inspected before resuming their use. Do not use appliances or motors that were exposed to water until they have been cleaned and dried.
•       Dress for safety. A disposable dust mask will keep out nuisance dust, but consider a specialized mask with changeable filters to filter mold spores (organic vapor), asbestos, lead or other contaminants. Wear safety glasses, leather or rubber gloves and protective shoes (Avoid rubber-soled athletic shoes when walking in or around debris). This will minimize harm to you if you encounter a hazard. Hard hats, long sleeves and pants are encouraged to guard against bumps and scrapes.
•       Look before you step: Floors and stairs may be covered with debris and may be very slippery. Watch out for window glass, broken bottles, nails and other hazards.
•       Watch for critters: Snakes, skunks, raccoons and other wildlife seeking high ground may choose your home for safety. Proceed with caution to avoid being startled.
•       Be alert for gas leaks: Do not strike a match or use an open flame when entering a building unless you know the gas has been turned off and the area has been ventilated. Use a flashlight to inspect for damage, not an open flame.
•       Be aware of water-borne health hazards: Floodwaters pick up sewage and chemicals from roads, farms, factories, and storage buildings. Inside the home, any flooded items, such as wallboard and mattresses, will hold mud and contamination forever. Throw them out. Spoiled food, water-logged cosmetics and medicine are also health hazards. When in doubt, throw it out. Don't let children play in standing water following a flood.


•       Hose the house: Many health hazards are found in the mud and silt that floodwaters leave behind. Shovel as much mud and debris as possible out of the house, then hose it down, inside and out.
•       Expect mold growth. Within days of being waterlogged, dry wall, upholstered furniture and wooden fixtures may develop mold or mildew. Mold and mildew can be health hazards. Ask your local health authorities for information on removing mold.
•       Carbon monoxide exhaust kills: Do not use camp stoves and charcoal grills indoors. All cooking on camp stoves and charcoal grills should be done outside. Gas and charcoal fumes can be deadly.
•       For several days after you return, be on the lookout for any broken utility connections: Broken water or sewer pipes, bent gas pipes and damaged electrical outlets or fixtures can be serious hazard. Get damage repaired as quickly as possible.


•       Beware of water on the road. Water covering the road could hide potholes or washed-away sections of road.  Never drive around barriers. Cars are buoyant and can begin to float in less than 24" of water. Turn around. Don't drown. Also, water can rise very quickly. You don't want be caught half way to the other side.
•       Sightseeing can be hazardous following a disaster. Consider all downed power lines "live." Broken water lines could undermine roads. Drive defensively. Encourage sightseers to stay away. Even pulling off the road onto soggy road shoulders or medians could lead to an unnecessary tow truck rescue.


•       Register with FEMA. Notifying your local government or non-profit organizations about damage to your home does not register you with FEMA. Call toll-free at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), TTY or 800-462-7585 for those with speech or hearing impairment or go online at
•       If new weather events cause additional damage to your property after you register, call and update you damage report - even after an inspector has visited your property. The federal major disaster declaration for Iowa began May 25 and continues.

FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.

SBA is the federal government's primary source of money for the long-term rebuilding of disaster-damaged private property. SBA helps homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and private non-profit organizations fund repairs or rebuilding efforts, and cover the cost of replacing lost or disaster-damaged personal property. These disaster loans cover uninsured and uncompensated losses and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations. For information about SBA programs, applicants may call 800-659-2955 (TTY 800-877-8339).

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, sex, religion, nationality, age, disability, English proficiency, economic status, or retaliation. If you or someone you known has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY Call 800-462-7585.

Editors: More information about the Iowa disaster is available online at or

Gaines Chapel AME Church, which is home to one of Churches United's food pantries in East Moline, is totally flooded with flood and sewer waters.  Although the church sanctuary is still functional, the entire downstairs, which includes the fellowship hall and common areas, has been flooded.  This common area is also where the food pantry is located and has been functioning as a food pantry for over 20 years!  After the waters recede, the pantry will be in need of individuals to help clean up and in need of resources to replace refrigerators, freezers, etc.  There isn't any timetable set up as of yet.  For those who use the food pantry, Christ United Methodist Church will be taking all of Gaines' clients.  Please keep the pantry, its volunteers and the people who must utilize another food pantry while this is closed in your prayers. Thank you from Churches United of the Quad City Area.

Due to flooding of the Mississippi River that is affecting the U.S. Post Office at 933 W. 2nd St., the postmaster has announced that the customer service/retail windows will not be open this week. Please take your postal business needs to either the Post Office at 4018 Marquette St or any of the QC HyVee Food Stores.

Post Office Box customers please note: the 2nd Street Post Office will be open from 11am until 3pm now thru Friday, June 20, for you to pick up your mail at your post office box.

Date: March 11, 2008 Contact: Holly Yates

Phone # 1/800/747-5401, ext. 257




APPOINTMENTS: To donate call Daniele Schlumpf at (563) 449-5000

ABOUT THE DRIVE: Donors who last gave blood on or before January 30, 2008 are eligible. ABOUT DONATING: Blood donation is a safe, simple procedure that only takes about an hour. Donors must be at least 16 years old, in good health, and weigh at least 110 pounds. A Blood Donor card or other photo I.D. is required to donate; 16-year-old donors must present a signed parental consent form, available from the Blood Center or for download from Controlled high blood pressure and diabetics are acceptable.

ABOUT MVRBC: Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center is the exclusive blood provider to Trinity Medical Center - West, Trinity Medical Center - 7th Street Trinity Medical Center at Terrace Park, Genesis Medical Center - East Rusholme Street and Genesis Medical Center - West Central Park.

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GOOD THINGS NOW with locations in Rock Island and Aledo is requesting donations of men's clothing, bedding, blankets and kitchen supplies such as pots, pans and dishes. We will also be running a 50% off sale on all winter merchandise the first 2 weeks of March.

In a world where every voice should count, there is still pockets of society that allows a small handful of individuals to control the livelyhoods of many. A good example of this is our own local Davenport Farmers Markets. Currently two farmers markets opperate on the Florian Keen parking lot, one being the Mississippi Valley Growers Association and the other being the Davenport River City Farmers Market Association.


TK's Family Restaurant in Colona, Illinois, has a menu of items that make up a wish list for a 20-man platoon that is stationed in Afghanistan. The Colona Business Association's "Adopt A Platoon" program is part of the national Adopt A Platoon program( This organization asks people to send mail and donate everyday items to the troops overseas.


The Colona Business Association sends gifts to the troops all year, not just during the holiday season. Please drop off your donations at the Colona Bank, Blackhawk State Bank's Colona branch and, of course, TK's Family Restaurant. While you are at the restaurant, you may want to try their ½ pound "Monster Burger."


Here is a list of the items that's on the troop's wish list: arts and craft supplies, batteries (AA and AAA), beef jerky, blank cards, blank CD's, board games, bubble gum, coffee and creamer (the powdered kind), coffee cups, computer games, crossword puzzles, darts, DVD's, flashlights, goldfish, hard candy, letter writing materials, mac-n-cheese, pen lights, plastic models, poker chips and cards, popcorn, Pringles, puzzle books, salt and pepper, and spices.

Sunday, October 21st through Saturday, October 27th, motorcycle enthusiasts and supporters of breast cancer research, education, and outreach programs worldwide will be able to bid on a one-of-a-kind custom-built motorcycle specially constructed to raise funds for the Quad Cities affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. This women's chopper was first unveiled at the Quad Cities Race for the Cure in the spring. All proceeds from the auction will support breast cancer research, education, outreach, screening, and treatment for the medically underserved. The project was funded in part by Radiology Group Imaging Center, Davenport, Iowa, and Wiebler's Harley-Davidson, Davenport, Iowa. Many special features are included in the design, such as ribbon-shaped wheel rims, specially air-painted gas tank with Susan G. Komen logo, ribbon-embossed leather seat, and other artfully applied features. The color is primarily black, with white and pink design enhancements. For more details go to or To place a bid on eBay go to October 21st through October 27th and click on the "Auctions" tab. ###

Thought provoking images encouraging dialogue betweekn people of all races, faiths and cultures will be displayed on 45 large murals in downtown Davenport (in front of the Figge, the RME courtyard and the south side of the RiverCenter). 

River Cities' Reader, Aug 15, 2007 (