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County offers tips on flood recovery

Thursday, September 18, 2008
Chicago Defender

The Cook County Department of Building and Zoning has implemented a permit and help hotline to assist property owners in unincorporated Cook County with permits and other property issues following the recent historical rainfalls. To determine if you need a permit or how to apply for permits, call the hotline number below.

The Department also cautions that property owner’s be certain that contractors are qualified to do the job and that they are licensed and registered to do work in unincorporated Cook County. The county’s Web site can answer those questions or residents may call the hotline. Help is a phone call or visit to the Web site away.

Building and Zoning Hotline: (312) 603-0507, or www.CookCountyGov.com; click on Agencies; click on Building & Zoning.

Some helpful tips:

  • After returning home, check your home for structural damage, including the foundation.
  • Keep power off until an electrician approves its use.
  • Discard any food, even canned goods, that was submerged in water.
  • Wear rubber gloves to wash all surfaces that were underwater. Clean with soap and water; disinfect with a solution of one cup bleach to five gallons of water.
  • Pump out flooded basements gradually, about one-third of the water per day, to avoid structural damage. Pressure from saturated soil could collapse basement walls.
  • If you have flood insurance, call your agent. Most home insurance policies don’t cover flood damage. However, take photos of any water in the house and any damaged personal property to make filing the claim easier.
  • Helpful equipment during and after a flood: sump pumps, gasoline generators and wet vacs.
  • Throw out wall-to-wall carpet and padding that has been saturated by flood waters. Usually these carpets cannot be cleaned and dried quickly enough to prevent the growth of molds and bacteria. Wrap these in plastic and take them to an area transfer station or landfill for disposal.


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