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Flood Clean-up Safety

Cleaning up after a flood presents real health risks. With record flooding across much of Queensland and now moving into NSW and other states the clearing of debris, mud and dirty water presents a real health problem.

Brad Matthews from Winning Safety has seen it all before while working in Charleville cleaning up after the flood in 1992. Having experienced first- hand the devastation and heartbreak caused by those massive amounts of water he has shared some proven tips on how you can save lives and get the best results.

To ensure the best possible outcome it is essential to begin the flood restoration process as soon as possible. Make sure the property has been checked by an electrician or that all power is off before you start work on a house or building. You are going to be working with a lot of water and it is important that you avoid all electrical hazards.

There is a very big risk of biological hazards (hepatitis, tetanus) and wildlife such as snakes and spiders. Before you start cleaning up ensure you have adequate supplies of disinfectant available. If you get a cut or scratch, regardless of how small it is, wash the area with the disinfectant and consider seeking medical attention. Also, before meals do not hesitate to wash your hands with a liberal dose of the disinfectant. It would also pay to ensure you have your Hepatitis and Tetanus shots up to date.

You may have smelt wet carpet before, the rotting process can begin very quickly so it is very important to begin the restoration process as soon as possible.  The main aim is to get the area dry and remove damp. We want to stop mould growing. Mould can become toxic and create adverse health effects.

Here are Brad’s Tips on flood cleaning procedures:

Step 1
Firstly, make sure area or structure is safe to enter.

Step 2
Get appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (“PPE”)
this could include gloves, masks, eye protection, waterproof footwear, waterproof clothing…

Step 3
Extract the water using:
•    Wet & Dry Vacuums
•    High suction intake extraction machines
•    Water extraction pumps
•    Automatic Scrubbers
•    Floor squeegees
•    Cleaning cloths

Step 4
Use cleaning chemical treatments:
•    Disinfectants
•    Sanitizers
•    Deodorisers
•    Mould prevention treatments to stop any mould from growing.

Step 5
Dry the area using:
•    Hot air blowers or air movers

In external areas avoid putting your unprotected hands or feet into dark water. Remember that the flood waters could have carried any number of potentially hazardous items into your property and are now lurking below the surface of still water. Wait till the water recedes or use a rake or shovel to test and clear the items.

Hose down everything thoroughly and place it in high spots where is can dry.

If you find putrid material like foodstuffs or animals take special care not to handle without protective wear. Keep all such material in strong bags and dispose of carefully.

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About the Author

Joanne Wallace is our resident "Safety Guru". Joanne has provided advice on safety management for the past 10 years and written hundreds of articles on safety issues and tips. Joanne has experience in many industries ranging from manufacturing, food processing, timber milling, retail, office and wholesaling providing her with knowledge and experience managing risk and injuries in these industries.

Comments (1)

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  1. Fannie says:

    Always a good job right here. Keep rolling on through.

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