Take steps to protect yourself and your loved ones during your cleanup after a hurricane, flood, or other natural disaster. Follow our cleanup tips and monitor your radio or television for up-to-date emergency information.
Here are some general safety tips during hurricane clean-up:
Get the right safety gear
- Hard hats
- N95 masks (or a respirator with a higher protection level)
- Heavy work gloves
- Waterproof boots with steel toe and insole (not just steel shank)
- Earplugs or protective headphones (if you’re working with noisy equipment)
- At least two fire extinguishers (each with a UL rating of at least 10A)
If sewage is involved, make sure to wear the following during your cleanup:
- Rubber boots
- Rubber gloves
Use teams to move heavy/bulky objects
- Have teams of at least two people work together to move heavy or bulky objects.
- Avoid lifting any material that weighs more than 50 pounds (per person).
Cleaning up your home can be a big job. Be sure to take care of yourself:
- 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, so you aren’t alone.
- Get support from family members, friends, counselors, or therapists.
Take precaution when using a chainsaw
- When using a chain saw, always follow manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure to wear appropriate protective gear, and be sure that bystanders are a safe distance away.
- Avoid contact with power lines, and take extra care in cutting trees or branches that are bent or caught under something else.
- Use extreme caution to avoid electrical shock when using an electric chain saw.
- For tips on safely operating a chain saw, see Preventing Chain Saw Injuries During Tree Removal After a Disaster.
Stay safe in hot weather
- In hot weather, try to stay cool by staying in air-conditioned buildings, taking breaks in shaded areas or in cool rooms, drinking water and nonalcoholic fluids often, and wearing light and loose-fitting clothing.
- Do outdoor activities during cooler hours.
- For more information on protecting yourself against heat-related illness, see the CDC Extreme Heat Web site .