Floods are destructive disasters that can endanger the welfare of everyone in their path and often require extensive cleanup and restoration efforts. Because flood water can carry debris and contaminated materials, every first responder dispatched to the scene should take several safety precautions to protect himself from harm.
A flood response team may be exposed to a variety of contaminants that make them susceptible to infection. Immunizations are a crucial proactive measure that can alleviate this risk. For this reason, fire fighters, police officers and paramedics should be up-to-date on their tetanus and Hepatitis B vaccines.
WEAR PROTECTIVE GEAR
To reduce exposure to contaminated water, emergency response personnel should wear several pieces of protective gear:
- Chemical resistant suit or overalls
- Plastic or rubber gloves
- Protective eyewear
In addition, anyone working inside a flooded area should wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket. An N-95 mask is also recommended for personnel entering mold-contaminated buildings.
WASH HANDS AND CLOTHING
While working, every first responder should avoid touching his face with contaminated gloves and promptly wash his hands after removing soiled gear or handling debris. He should also thoroughly cleanse his hands before eating or drinking.
Promptly removing and washing contaminated clothing is also vital. It’s also important to take precaution and avoid contaminating clean areas with soiled gear.
BE AWARE OF UTILITIES
To stay safe, a flood response team must remain alert and vigilant. Damaged utilities are hazardous and pose a significant challenge. Personnel should, for example, avoid downed power lines or risk electric shock.
Diverting traffic away from flooded roadways is another important safety measure that protects the public and diminishes the need for dangerous water rescues. To efficiently block dangerous streets, authorities need to efficiently communicate traffic control plans and ensure signs, cones and barricades are readily accessible.
RESPOND SAFELY AND EFFICIENTLY
Like any other community Lombard, IL, is not immune from floods. When disaster strikes, a first responder team quickly jumps into action to protect and save lives, often working under extremely dangerous conditions. Following established safety protocols is crucial and helps the team successfully accomplish their mission.