People in the areas affected by the recent severe weather will continue to face a number of hazards associated with cleanup activities. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) offers the following safety tips:
Wear Protective Gear
Reduce Risk of Heat Exhaustion
While cleaning up after a severe storm during excessive heat, you are at risk for developing health problems. To reduce heat-related risks:
Prevent Muscle and Bone Injury
Special attention is needed to avoid back injuries associated with manual lifting and handling of debris and building materials. To help prevent muscle and bone injury:
Food Safety Precautions
In the case of an electrical outage, it is important to take careful precautions to ensure food safety. The risk of food poisoning is heightened when refrigerators and ovens are inoperable.
Avoid Carbon Monoxide
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that is poisonous to breathe. During storm cleanup, operate gasoline-powered generators and outdoors. Never bring them indoors.
Mosquito-borne Disease Prevention
Prevent Fatigue-Related Injuries
Continued long hours of work combined with exhaustion can create a highly stressful situation during cleanup. People working on storm cleanup can reduce their risk of injury and illness in several ways:
The VDH website also contains information on pre-storm planning, post-storm recovery and the prevention of heat-related illnesses. Please visit www.vdh.virginia.gov. Click "Hurricane Season 2012" for more information on food safety, drinking water safety, post-storm cleanup and prevention of illnesses and injuries. Or click "Extreme Heat" for information on staying cool and hydrated as well as heat stroke and heat exhaustion.
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