Cleaning Up

Storm and flood cleanup activities can be hazardous. Workers and volunteers involved with flood cleanup should be aware of the potential dangers involved, and the proper safety precautions. Work-related hazards that could be encountered include: electrical hazards, Carbon Monoxide, musculoskeletal hazards, heat stress, motor vehicles accidents, hazardous materials, bacteria, mold, fire, confined spaces and falls.

Fact Sheet: Clean Up Safely After a Disaster


  • Wear protective clothing, including rubber gloves and rubber boots.
  • If necessary, wear earplugs or protective headphones to reduce risk from equipment noise.
  • If there has been a backflow of sewage into your house, wear rubber boots, rubber gloves, and goggles during cleanup of the affected area.
  • Wear hard hats, goggles, heavy work gloves, and watertight boots with steel toe and insole (not just steel shank) for cleanup work.


  • When using a chain saw, operate the saw according to the manufacturer’s instructions, wear appropriate protective equipment, avoid contact with power lines, be sure that bystanders are at a safe distance, and take extra care in cutting trees or branches that have gotten bent or caught under another object. 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 Injury During Tree Removal.
  • If you must use a chain saw, follow the instructions to be safe. Wear a hard hat, safety glasses, ear plugs, thick work gloves, chaps, and boots.
  • Always hold the saw at waist level or below.
  • If you are cut, put direct pressure on the wound to stop bleeding and get medical help as soon as possible.

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