Once the initial emergency is over, the next step is trying to save and recover what you can of your home and belongings. In many cases insurance companies will be there to assist with hiring companies that have trained professionals on hand; however you may be in a position where you have to do some of this work yourself. It is important to be aware of the health and safety hazards and take precautions before and as you begin this work.
What Are Some of the Hazards In and Around My Home That I Need to Consider Before I Begin Work On My Property?
There may be:
- Biological hazards such as mould, bacteria, rodent droppings, contaminated drinking water and sewage
- Chemical hazards such as spilled household and commercial chemicals, asbestos, carbon monoxide, gasoline, diesel, furnace fuel, benzene and other gases
- Physical hazards such as exposure to live wires, trip and fall hazards, sharp objects like nails and broken glass
Check the links below for additional information:
- Asbestos Exposure from Damaged Buildings or Demolition: Management of Asbestos During Emergencies
- Carbon Monoxide Exposure from using Alternate Heating and Cooking Sources While the Power is Out
- Food Safety Issues Arise from Food Exposed to Power Outages, Floods and Fires
- Impacts of Flooded Septic Systems: What to do When Flood Waters Have Affected Your Septic System
- Removing Odors from Refrigerators after Power Outages
- Effects of Fire on Food Safety
- Flood Cleanup and Mould Prevention
- Rodent Feces
What Are Some Things I Can Do to Protect Myself?
Before entering any area impacted by the emergency think about the possible dangers and take precautions to eliminate or reduce the hazard such as:
- Ensure power and gas have been turned off to the building before you enter
- Check with the fire department and or building official to ensure the building has been cleared for entry
- Confined spaces require special training and protective gear so leave this to the professionals
- Wear protective clothing such as protective footwear, overalls, gloves, masks, eye protection, hearing protection
- Do not eat or smoke while conducting repair work
- Watch out for slip and fall hazards
- Avoid working alone in case you are injured, someone can call for help
- Watch out for chemical exposures from spilled household and other chemicals that can affect water and air quality and may leave you exposed through breathing in fumes, touching chemicals and causing burns or entry through your skin, or by ingesting chemicals through contaminated food or water while eating
- Take frequent rest breaks.