Cleanup & Recovery Safety

Portable Generator Safety
Portable generators can be dangerous if used incorrectly. The major causes of injuries or fatalities are:
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning from the exhaust
  • Fire from improper refueling or storing of fuel
  • Shock and electrocution from improper use of power
For more information, look at the provided OSHA fact sheet (PDF).
Portable Generator Safety
Re-Entering Homes & Cleanup Safety
During clean up, you may be exposed to potentially life-threatening hazards. It is important for everyone to take the right precautions to prevent injury. Failure to remove contaminated materials and to reduce moisture and humidity may present serious long-term health risks. To learn more about protecting yourself while removing debris from your home/business, view Re-Entering Homes and Cleanup Safety (PDF). View recommendations for cleaning and sanitizing various surfaces with bleach and water (PDF).
Caution Watch Your Step
Carbon Monoxide Safety
Save this number, 800-222-1222, in your phone to get quick help from a poison expert when an accident happens with chemicals or medicine! 

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas that cannot be seen, smelled, or tasted. Symptoms of CO poisoning include:
  • Confusion
  • Death
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Sleepiness
  • Vomiting
Carbon Monoxide Safety
Appliances and items that burn fuel may be a source of this gas (furnaces, generators, cars, etc.). For the best way to reduce you and your family’s risk of poisoning, place a carbon monoxide detector on each level of your home or inside every bedroom. For questions about CO or CO poisoning, call the NJ Poison Control at 800-222-1222 or visit their website.
Mold Safety
Mold is an organism that can grow on almost every material, as long as moisture and oxygen are available. When returning to a home that has been flooded, be aware that mold may be present. People with asthma, allergies, or breathing conditions may be more sensitive. When working with mold, safety precautions should be exercised to help reduce your risk of developing negative side effects!

What to Wear
  • Disposable Coveralls: When removing mold by scrubbing, coveralls protect clothing from absorbing/trapping loosened mold spores
  • Gloves: Waterproof, cut-resistant gloves for protection against cuts and chemicals
  • Goggles: Goggles without vents are recommended to best prevent mold spores from entering the eyes
  • N-100 mask: To avoid breathing dust (fungal spores) generated by building materials
  • Work Shoes: Footwear should be non-skid and water-resistant or water-proof
Click on this link to get to a Mold Guidelines Booklet for NJ residents. This booklet provides information for understanding the process of investigation and remediation of mold.
Mold Safety
Lead Safety
Lead is a highly toxic, soft metal that can be found in dust, paint, soil, or plumbing in homes/buildings built before 1978. Lead poisoning occurs when paint chips containing lead are either eaten or breathed into the lungs.

Children ages 6 and younger exposed to lead suffer from the effects even more so than older children or adults. Exposure can lead to learning and developmental disabilities, decreased growth, hyperactivity, impaired hearing, and brain damage. There is no safe blood lead level! The CDC provides information on prevention tips, sources of lead, the at risk population, etc. Learn more about the effects lead has on humans.
Lead Safety
Asbestos Safety
If asbestos-containing materials are present in older homes and disturbed, elevated levels of airborne asbestos may occur. Some of the materials asbestos can be found in are pipe/other insulation, ceiling tiles, exterior siding, roof shingles and sprayed on-fireproofing. Typically, buildings constructed before 1970 are more likely to contain asbestos. Airborne asbestos can cause lung cancer, specifically mesothelioma, a cancer of the chest and abdominal linings. To learn more about asbestos and its negative health effects, visit the EPA.
Asbestos Warning
Home Sewage/Septic Systems
The flooding of septic systems can be a hazardous situation for homeowners. During heavy rains and floods, the ground becomes saturated, preventing the proper operation of your sewage/septic system. This may lead to a backup of sewage inside of the home and contaminated drinking water. The CDC provides useful information on what you should do before, during and after an emergency. Another useful website is the EPA.
Rodent Control
Rats and mice are destructive pests that can spread disease, contaminate food, and destroy property. They are responsible for spreading over 35 different diseases to humans and other animals. In the wake of a disaster, the number of rats and mice are often reduced. The surviving rodents often relocate to new areas in search of food, water, and shelter making it important to properly inspect and protect your house against their entry.
Rodent Safety