|Christie Administration Urges Volunteers, Homeowners To Protect Themselves During Storm Clean Up|
Health Commissioner Mary E. O'Dowd today urged those engaged in Hurricane clean up activities to make sure they protect themselves against environmental hazards that may be present in storm damaged homes and buildings.
Mold, materials containing asbestos and lead-based paint may all be potential hazards in storm damaged buildings. Homeowners and volunteers conducting clean up or remediation work should ensure their safety by wearing protective equipment appropriate for the work they are doing. Protective equipment may include waterproof boots, gloves, goggles and a respirator.
"Homeowners doing clean up work and the volunteers assisting them are critical assets in New Jersey's recovery efforts, but making sure they protect themselves is equally important," said Commissioner O'Dowd.
"Homeowners and volunteers may not be familiar with the environmental hazards that may be present in storm damaged buildings or what the appropriate protective measures that are needed,'' the Commissioner added.
Those involved in clean up activities should also check with their health care provider to determine if they need a booster shot or tetanus vaccination. Everyone should be immunized with a tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis-containing vaccine. Individuals should receive a tetanus booster if they have not been vaccinated for tetanus during the past 10 years.
People who sustain a wound should check with their healthcare provider to determine if they need to be vaccinated, as the decision will depend on an assessment of the wound and the person's past immunization history.
Below are some do's and don'ts for clean up work:
The Department of Health has safety and health related information to assist homeowners and volunteers in their clean-up efforts. These documents are available on our website at www.nj.gov\health. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also has important health and safety information on their website. Their information can be found at http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/cleanup/facts.asp.
The Department also has environmental and occupation health professionals available to answer questions related to the clean-up effort. An environmental health and safety specialist can be reached by calling the emergency hotline at 1-866-234-0964 or by calling 2-1-1.