These 3 Tips Will Keep You Safer During Cleanup

Be mindful of personal safety during flood cleanup by taking steps to stay safe, the Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management warns as the entire region undertakes a massive recovery from Harvey.

The agency offers three main tips -- and explains each of them:

1. Equip Yourself 

The first step, HCOHSEM says, is to dress for safety.

Protect yourself from injuries during cleanup by wearing:

--Hard hats.


--Heavy work gloves.

--Waterproof boots with steel toes.

--Earplugs or headphones if you’re working with noisy equipment.

2. Prevent Illness

--Clean up, disinfect, and practice good hygiene to avoid illness from bacteria, viruses, mold, and mildew.

--Get medical care if you are injured, sick, or having trouble coping with stress.

--To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, only use generators, pressure washers, grills, camp  stoves, or other gasoline, propane, natural gas, or charcoal-burning devices outside and away from open windows, doors, and air vents.

--Stay cool and drink plenty of fluids to prevent heat-related illness.

3. Pace yourself during cleanup

--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, rather than alone.

--Get support from family members, friends, counselors, or therapists.

Other tips

"Be aware of damaged water, gas, and electric lines," the agency says. "Be aware of damaged building and construction materials. Do not attempt to conduct major tree work or reconstruction without proper equipment, permits, and training. Be aware of household hazardous waste and contaminants."

Household hazardous waste -- such as paint (oil-based and latex), automotive chemicals, batteries and lawn chemicals -- will not be picked up with regular debris piles. Instead, Harris County will announce collection dates and drop-off locations sometime in the future.

Also people are urged to report any hazardous materials spills to the Harris County Pollution Control Services Department at 713-920-2831.

For more information about debris separation and debris removal, call the Harris County Residential Debris and Damage Assessment Hotline at 713-274-3880.

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