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Staying Safe During Clean Up


  • Wear protective gear at all times.
  • Carry a communication device (walkie-talkie or cell phone).
  • Look for electrical system damage, and turn off the electricity at the main switch if you can do this without risk (otherwise, call the power company or an electrician).
  • Carry a stick to lift debris (after a flood, snakes and other animals may be hiding).
  • Check for possible gas leaks; if you smell gas or hear blowing or hissing sounds, open a window and leave the building immediately. Turn off the main gas valve from the outside, if you can do this safely, or call the gas company. (Note: after the main valve has been turned off, you will need to have the gas company turn it back on).
  • Avoid prolonged exposure to heat and high humidity.
  • Drink plenty of water — at least a gallon per person per day — and take frequent breaks.
  • Set up a rest area, with a first-aid station (including eyewash kits), sanitary supplies, and drinking water and cups.
  • If health problems develop, stop work and immediately seek medical attention.
  • Keep tuned to emergency radio stations for updates.


  • Don’t try to take on everything at once. Begin by surveying the damage and making a plan.
  • Don’t enter or work alone.
  • Don’t work in spaces with mold outbreak unless you know the type of mold — and have proper protection.
  • Don’t use gas-powered generators indoors.