Though surviving a severe storm means that you’ve averted a disaster, danger still remains in the aftermath of the hurricane. Fallen trees, flooded roads, and damaged structures can cause potential accidents unless they are properly dealt with. To keep yourself and your loved ones safe, here are things you should know in order to conduct a safe hurricane cleanup for your home.
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Post-Hurricane Hazards You Need To Look Out For
Hazardous materials and substances after a violent tropical storm are always found in the surrounding area. Common hazards include the following:
- Floodwaters from the sewage are infected with bacteria and other organisms. The waters that have flooded with chemicals, human and animal wastes, and other contaminants have toxic substances that can harm your health.
- Knocked-down power lines and other plugged electrical appliances can cause electrocution upon contact, especially if they are submerged in water. Fires can also start when a spark is caused by live electrical wires.
- Damaged buildings and tree debris can collapse at any time and can cause injuries due to falls, slips, and trips. Getting near these unstable structures is dangerous unless local authorities deem them safe.
- Fungi and mold can negatively impact your health. Inhaling dust particles from airborne fungi can cause respiratory problems. Exposure to mold can trigger allergic reactions like eye irritation, wheezing, and nose stuffiness.
- Carbon monoxide poisoning can be caused by exhausts from diesel-powered generators, stoves, charcoal grills, and pressure washers.
Safety Tips To Remember When Cleaning Up After a Hurricane
Now that you know the hazardous materials and their dangerous effects, here are protective measures you can do when you’re conducting a hurricane cleanup.
Ask Help When Cleaning Up
Most cleanup tasks involve moving large appliances and heavy structural debris. Do not try to do this alone and risk injuring yourself. Create a group with your friends, family, and neighbors that can tackle this job. You can also contact local and federal authorities if you need assistance.
Wear Appropriate Safety Gear
Keep yourself safe by putting on personal protective equipment. When on-site, always wear a hard hat, an N95 mask, goggles, long pants, heavy work gloves, and waterproof boots with steel toe and insole. Use protective headphones or earplugs when operating noisy equipment. If you are cleaning up in flooded waters or sewages, wear goggles, rubber boots, and rubber gloves.
Check the Environment for Debris and Damages
Wait for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and local officials to mark your area as safe before the hurricane cleanup. After they’ve given the green light, survey your residential area during the day. Bring flashlights and extra batteries for the inspection. Also, bring a camera with you to take photos of the hurricane damage to your property.
Check the surroundings before you enter your home and look out for structural damages, tree debris, and loose powerlines. If you smell gas or other chemicals, contact the appropriate authorities immediately.
Watch Out for Hazardous Materials
Do not go near downed electrical lines and unstable debris to avoid getting into accidents. If you come in contact with floodwaters, fungi, and mold, always wear your safety gear for protection. Seek medical help immediately if you become injured or sick due to these hazards.
Practice Proper Hygiene
Maintain cleanliness by always washing up with soap and clean water after cleaning. Moreover, wash your laundry with hot water and detergent. Never use contaminated floodwaters when bathing or washing your clothes.
Be Cautious About What You Consume
Keep yourself healthy by being careful of what you eat and drink. Do not risk getting sick by eating perishable foods exposed to stormwater. If they taste, smell, and look normal, dispose of them as a precaution. Also, floodwaters are not safe to drink because they contain bacteria and other chemicals that are dangerous when ingested. Only use bottled, boiled, or treated water for drinking and cooking.
Take Care of Your Mental Health
Cleaning up your home following a storm can be exhausting, but you can also find the endeavor overwhelming and distressing. Research shows that people who have experienced natural disasters can develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety. Indicators of these mental health issues include mood swings, intense irritability, traumatic flashbacks, headaches, chest pains, and nausea.
These health problems might affect your ability to do your cleanup tasks, so if you are experiencing these symptoms, seek professional help. Get psychiatric treatment to help you recover from the trauma. You can also open up to friends and families who experience similar symptoms due to the hurricane fallout. They can be your support system as you deal with your PTSD.
Get Professional Help For Cleaning the Hurricane Damages
Always practice caution when cleaning up after a storm. Follow these tips to keep yourself safe and protected throughout the process. If you require extra assistance and want a thorough and effective hurricane cleanup, contact a disaster restoration company near your area.