FEMA prepared the information below for their staff working in flooded areas.
Some hazards associated with floods and cleanups are listed below:
- Airborne microorganisms; microbial growth (e.g. bacteria and fungi)
- Heat stress
- Slippery and unstable surfaces
- Fatigue or exhaustion from working long shifts
- Floodwater exposure; contaminated floodwaters
- Sharp or jagged debris
- Electrical hazards
- Contact with animal and human remains
- Air contaminants/Chemical exposures
Please contact your site safety and health official for area specific guidance.
- Seek immediate first aid treatment or medical evaluation for any injuries and illnesses.
- Report injuries or illnesses to your supervisor and site safety official.
- Do not walk through flowing or standing water.
- Do not drive through a flooded area.
- Stay away from downed power lines and electrical wires.
- Watch for animals, especially snakes.
- Look before you step.
- Be alert for gas leaks.
- Get Immunizations and be sure that they are current, e.g., Tetanus.
- Use hand sanitizer. Wash hands with soap and clean water, preferably. When available, wash hands before work breaks, meal breaks and at the end of the work shift.
- Keep safe potable water close by for drinking and washing. Consider all water unsafe until local authorities announce that the public water supply is safe
- Use insect repellant
- Use sunscreen
- Have watertight boots with steel toe and insole (not just steel shank; slip resistant).
- Wear long sleeved shirts and pants. This may decrease the risk of mosquito and other insect bites.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (2004). Floods. http://osha.gov/SLTC/emergencypreparedness/guides/floods.html
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Immunization Recommendations for Disaster Responders, http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/disease/responderimmun.asp
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hazard Based Guidelines: Protective Equipment for Workers in Hurricane Flood Response, http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/emres/pre-workers.html