Breaking News
March 26, 2019 - After 2 Apparent Student Suicides, Parkland Grieves Again
March 25, 2019 - Inherited form of rickets improves more with new injectable medicine than conventional therapy
March 25, 2019 - Trastuzumab Tied to Higher Long-Term Risk for Heart Failure
March 25, 2019 - Personal context directly affects CPAP use
March 25, 2019 - Mosquito tracking key to preventing disease outbreaks
March 25, 2019 - Scientists Detect Hidden Signals from Beneficial Bacteria
March 25, 2019 - Treating women with thyroid antibodies with Levothyroxine do not increase live birth rate
March 25, 2019 - Brain area that only processes spoken, not written words identified
March 25, 2019 - Race and ethnicity influence fracture risk in diabetic patients
March 25, 2019 - Researchers report new regenerative medicine approach for treating osteoarthritis of the knee
March 25, 2019 - Exposure to dim light at night may contribute to spread of breast cancer to bones
March 25, 2019 - Benefits of osteoporosis treatment in postmenopausal women outweigh the perceived risks
March 25, 2019 - Researchers find evidence of Cryptosporidium parasite in Minnesota’s public water systems
March 25, 2019 - Three Clues to Raised Risk of Miscarriage
March 25, 2019 - Structured play helps toddlers self-regulate, altering their life course
March 25, 2019 - Translating horror into justice: Stanford psychiatrist advocates for human rights
March 25, 2019 - HORIBA Medical introduces D-Dimer reagent for Yumizen G hemostasis range
March 25, 2019 - Recurrent pregnancy loss may be caused by sperm DNA damage, finds study
March 25, 2019 - Special Collection tracks development of new diagnostic tests for tuberculosis
March 25, 2019 - Air Force develops genetic test to predict mental performance
March 25, 2019 - To abort or not to abort—making difficult choices alone
March 25, 2019 - Computer vision technology could aid ICU care by spotting movement
March 25, 2019 - IONTAS wins ‘Small Business of the Year’ category at Cambridge News Business Excellence Awards 2019
March 25, 2019 - First postpartum depression drug gets FDA nod
March 25, 2019 - Research Recognition Award will help improve lives of young people with absence epilepsy
March 25, 2019 - Bisphosphonates to treat osteoporosis appears to be beneficial for all women
March 25, 2019 - Researchers develop new augmented reality app to assess spatial memory
March 25, 2019 - Dolomite Bio releases new Drop-seq datasets for single-cell RNA sequencing
March 25, 2019 - Hemoglobin A1c blood test may underestimate prevalence of diabetes
March 25, 2019 - Immune system errors linked to development of childhood leukemia
March 25, 2019 - Eating leafy green vegetables may help maintain muscle strength and mobility
March 25, 2019 - BMA secures state-backed clinical negligence indemnity scheme for GP trainees
March 25, 2019 - Biohaven Announces Completion of Pre-NDA Meeting With FDA for Oral CGRP Receptor Antagonist Rimegepant
March 25, 2019 - Adding breakfast to classrooms may have a health downside
March 25, 2019 - She Was Dancing On The Roof And Talking Gibberish. A Special Kind Of ER Helped Her.
March 25, 2019 - KNAUER introduces new Sepapure FPLC columns and media for protein purification tasks
March 25, 2019 - Weight loss in obese migraine sufferers can improve their quality of life
March 25, 2019 - Exposure to particulate air pollution may lead to reduced sperm production
March 25, 2019 - Synthetic peptide appears to disrupt inflammation and protect kidneys from nephritis
March 25, 2019 - New guideline focuses on strategies to improve health of older adults with diabetes
March 25, 2019 - Study evaluates prescribing of preventive drugs at the end of life in older adults with cancer
March 25, 2019 - Radial or femoral approaches for PCI are equal in terms of survival in heart attack patients
March 25, 2019 - Study shows how some autoimmune diseases are more closely related than others
March 25, 2019 - Long term opioid medications impacts production of important hormones
March 25, 2019 - FDA Issues Complete Response Letter for Zynquista (sotagliflozin)
March 25, 2019 - CDC researchers report on trends in hospital breastfeeding policies
March 25, 2019 - States Push For Caregiver Tax Credits
March 25, 2019 - Females on ketogenic diet fail to show metabolic benefits in animal model
March 25, 2019 - Modulating stiffness of blood-forming stem cells could facilitate mobilization procedures
March 25, 2019 - Gene editing regulations to be tightened
March 25, 2019 - CPAP treatment can result in weight loss in people with sleep apnea and obseity
March 25, 2019 - Highly attractive businesswomen are considered less trustworthy ‘femmes fatales’
March 25, 2019 - Breast Density Categorization Varies With Screening Modality
March 25, 2019 - Researchers explore link between metal exposure and Parkinson’s symptoms
March 25, 2019 - Later meal timing may contribute to weight gain
March 25, 2019 - Around one in hundred people has autism spectrum condition in China
March 25, 2019 - Research paves way for new standard of care to improve heart’s pump function
March 25, 2019 - Exposure to HIV virus, antiretroviral therapy before birth linked to obesity and asthma-like symptoms
March 25, 2019 - Transgender men preserve their fertility potential after one year of testosterone therapy
March 25, 2019 - Tighter Blood Pressure Control May Prevent Brain Lesions
March 25, 2019 - A reward now or later? Exploring impulsivity in Parkinson’s disease patients
March 25, 2019 - Financial incentives fail to increase completion rates of colorectal cancer screening tests mailed to patients
March 25, 2019 - New research program launched to highlight sexual harassment in academia
March 25, 2019 - Hemoglobin A1c blood test does not detect diabetes in most patients, shows study
March 25, 2019 - Wyss Technology licensed by Sherlock Biosciences to create affordable molecular diagnostics
March 25, 2019 - DWK Life Sciences launches KIMBLE GLS 80 Media Bottle and Multiport Cap System
March 25, 2019 - New study aims to reduce online sexual exploitation of children
March 25, 2019 - Want healthier eating habits? Start with a workout
March 25, 2019 - New approach to prescribing antibiotics could curb resistance
March 24, 2019 - Theravance Biopharma Announces First Patient Dosed in Phase 2b/3 Study of TD-1473 in Patients with Ulcerative Colitis
March 24, 2019 - Prenatal DHA prevents blood-pressure increase from obesity during childhood
March 24, 2019 - Combined immunosuppression may be effective, safe in treating older patients with Crohn’s disease
March 24, 2019 - GSK sells health drinks arm, buys US cancer treatment firm
March 24, 2019 - Bacteria and innate immune factors in birth canal, cervix may be key to predicting preterm births
March 24, 2019 - IgG antibodies play unexpected role in atherosclerosis
March 24, 2019 - Sounds and vibrations are quite similar for the brain, finds new study
March 24, 2019 - Practices for Reducing COPD Hospital Readmissions Explored
March 24, 2019 - Could an eye doctor diagnose Alzheimer’s before you have symptoms?
March 24, 2019 - Enzyme inhibitor stops inflammation and neurodevelopmental disorders in mouse models
March 24, 2019 - Walk, Dance, Clean: Even a Little Activity Helps You Live Longer
Clean Up Safely After a Disaster|Natural Disasters and Severe Weather

Clean Up Safely After a Disaster|Natural Disasters and Severe Weather

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

Take steps to protect yourself and your loved ones during your cleanup after a hurricane, flood, or other natural disaster. Follow our cleanup tips and monitor your radio or television for up-to-date emergency information.

General Safety Tips

Get the right safety gear

  • Hard hats
  • Goggles
  • N95 masks (or a respirator with a higher protection level)
  • Heavy work gloves
  • Waterproof boots with steel toe and insole (not just steel shank)
  • Earplugs or protective headphones (if you’re working with noisy equipment)
  • At least two fire extinguishers (each with a UL rating of at least 10A)

If sewage is involved, make sure to wear the following during your cleanup:

  • Rubber boots
  • Rubber gloves
  • Goggles

Use teams to move heavy/bulky objects

  • Have teams of at least two people work together to move heavy or bulky objects.
  • Avoid lifting any material that weighs more than 50 pounds (per person).

Pace yourself

Cleaning up your home can be a big job. Be sure to take care of yourself:

  • Rest when you need to.
  • Decide which cleanup tasks are most important, and focus on those first. That way, you’re less likely to be overwhelmed.
  • Get help lifting heavy or bulky objects. If you lift too much on your own, you could hurt yourself.
  • Try to work with other people, so you aren’t alone.
  • Get support from family members, friends, counselors, or therapists.

Take precaution when using a chainsaw

  • When using a chain saw, always follow manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure to wear appropriate protective gear, and be sure that bystanders are a safe distance away.
  • Avoid contact with power lines, and take extra care in cutting trees or branches that are bent or caught under something else.
  • Use extreme caution to avoid electrical shock when using an electric chain saw.
  • For tips on safely operating a chain saw, see Preventing Chain Saw Injuries During Tree Removal After a Disaster.

Stay safe in hot weather

  • In hot weather, try to stay cool by staying in air-conditioned buildings, taking breaks in shaded areas or in cool rooms, drinking water and nonalcoholic fluids often, and wearing light and loose-fitting clothing.
  • Do outdoor activities during cooler hours.
  • For more information on protecting yourself against heat-related illness, see the CDC Extreme Heat Web site .

Mold

Prevent mold growth

  • Clean up and dry your home quickly after the storm or flood ends- within 24 to 48 hours if possible.
  • Air out your house by opening doors and windows. Use fans to dry wet areas. Position fans to blow air out doors or windows.
  • Throw away anything that you can’t clean or dry quickly (such as mattresses, carpeting, carpet padding, rugs, upholstered furniture, cosmetics, stuffed animals, baby toys, pillows, foam-rubber items, books, wall coverings, and paper products).
  • Remove and discard drywall and insulation that has been contaminated with sewage or flood waters.
  • Thoroughly clean all wet items and surfaces with hot water and laundry or dish detergent. For example, you’ll want to clean any flooring, concrete, molding, wood and metal furniture, countertops, appliances, sinks, and other plumbing fixtures.
  • Fix any leaks in roofs, walls, or plumbing as soon as you can.

Clean up mold with a mix of bleach and water

  • Never use bleach in a closed space. Open windows and doors first.
  • Put on personal protective equipment to protect your eyes, nose, mouth, and skin. Wear goggles, an N-95 respirator, and protective gloves.
  • To make your cleaner, mix 1 cup of household bleach with 1 gallon of water.
  • Clean everything with mold on it.
  • See Mold After a Disaster, CDC Flood Web site, and Homeowner’s and Renter’s Guide to Mold Cleanup After Disasters or more information on safely reentering flooded homes, cleaning up flood or storm water, worker safety issues, and mold cleanup issues.

Hygiene & Preventing Diseases

Disinfect toys

Remember that anything that’s had contact with floodwater could carry germs. To keep your kids safe, make sure their toys are clean:

  • Make a cleaning fluid by mixing 1 cup of bleach in 5 gallons of water.
  • Wash off toys carefully with your cleaner.
  • Let the toys air dry.

You may not be able to kill germs on some toys — like stuffed animals and baby toys. Throw out toys you can’t clean.

Wash up with soap and water

  • Wash up with soap and water once you’re done cleaning.
  • If there is a boil-water advisory in effect:
    • Use water that has been boiled for 1 minute (allow the water to cool before washing); or
    • Use water that’s been disinfected for personal hygiene:
      • When using 5-6% unscented liquid household chlorine bleach – add a little less than 1/8 teaspoon (8 drops or about 0.5 milliliters) per 1 gallon of clear water. Stir well, and let it stand for 30 minutes before using. If the water is cloudy, add a little less than ¼ teaspoon (16 drops or about 1 milliliter) per 1 gallon of water.
      • When using 8.25% unscented liquid household chlorine bleach – add a little less than 1/8 teaspoon (6 drops or about 0.5 milliliters) per 1 gallon of clear water. Stir well, and let it stand for 30 minutes before using. If the water is cloudy, add 12 drops (or about 1 milliliter) per 1 gallon of water.
  • If you have any open cuts or sores that were exposed to floodwater, wash them with soap and water and apply an antibiotic ointment to prevent an infection.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if you become injured or sick.
  • Wash all clothes worn during the cleanup in hot water and detergent. These clothes should be washed separately from uncontaminated clothes and linens.
  • For more tips on washing your hands, see Clean Hands Save Lives: Emergency Situations.

Be careful with floodwater- it can contain dangerous bacteria

Handwash

  • Floodwater can contain dangerous bacteria from overflowing sewage and agricultural and industrial waste. While skin contact with floodwater doesn’t pose a serious health risk by itself, eating or drinking anything contaminated with floodwater can cause diseases.
  • If you have any open cuts or sores that will be exposed to floodwater, keep them as clean as possible by washing them with soap and applying an antibiotic ointment to discourage infection. (See also Clean Hands Save Lives: Emergency Situations)
  • To reduce cold–related risks when standing or working in water which is cooler than 75 degrees F (24 degrees C), wear insulated clothes and insulated rubber boots, take frequent breaks out of the water, and change into dry clothing when possible.
  • See also Food, Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Information for Use Before and After a Disaster or Emergency and Reentering Your Flooded Home.

Potential Hazards

Be careful when entering damaged buildings

  • Stay away from any damaged buildings or structures until a building inspector or other government authority has had a chance to examine it and certify that it’s safe.
  • Wait until daylight to return to buildings so it’s easier to see and avoid any hazards- especially if the power is out.
  • Leave your home or other building if you hear any shifting or strange noises- this could mean it’s about to fall.
  • If you smell gas or suspect a leak, leave your house/building and contact emergency authorities right away! Don’t turn on the lights, light matches, smoke, or do anything that can cause a spark. Don’t return to the building until you’re told it’s safe to do so.
  • Keep children and pets away from the affected area until cleanup has been completed.

Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning

  • Never use generators, pressure washers, or other gasoline, propane, natural gas, or charcoal-burning devices inside your home, basement, garage, or camper—or even outside near an open window, door, or vent. Carbon monoxide—an odorless, colorless gas from these sources that can cause sudden illness and death—can build up indoors and poison the people and animals inside.
  • For more information, see Carbon Monoxide Poisoning After a Disaster.

Be aware of any electrical hazards

  • If electrical circuits and electrical equipment have gotten wet or are in or near water, turn off the power at the main breaker or fuse on the service panel. If you must enter standing water to access the main power switch, then call an electrician to turn it off.
  • Never turn power on or off or use an electric tool or appliance while standing in water.
  • Do not connect generators to your home’s electrical circuits without the approved, automatic-interrupt devices. If a generator is on line when electrical service is restored, it can become a major fire hazard and it may endanger line workers helping to restore power in your area.
  • For more information, see Protect Yourself and Others from Electrical Hazards After a Disaster.

Be careful with dangerous materials

  • Call the fire department to inspect or remove chemicals, propane tanks, and other dangerous materials.
  • Wear protective clothing and gear (for example, a respirator if needed) when handling hazardous materials.
  • Wash skin that may have come in contact with hazardous materials.
  • Wear insulated gloves and use caution if you have to remove a car battery. Avoid any acid that may have leaked from a car battery.
  • For information about possible dangers posed by chemicals, see the Chemical Emergencies page.
  • For information about possible dangers posed by pollution from large farms and agricultural facilities, see the CDC Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) website.
Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles