WorkCare supports public health and safety officials, emergency responders, utility workers, cleanup personnel and other community members who are involved in recovery efforts in areas impacted by Hurricane Florence.
Even in the midst of flooding, post-storm recovery efforts are already under way.
Emergency response and recovery workers face many types of health and safety risks. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health provides guidance on how to avoid exposure to hazards such as carbon monoxide (CO) and mold, reducing the likelihood of muscle strains and sprains, cuts and other commonly occurring injuries, managing stress and fatigue, and preventing heat-related illness.
Personal Safety Measures
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports it is working with federal disaster relief, medical, state and local authorities to respond to the potential spread of disease and address the physical and mental health needs of those affected by the hurricane.
The CDC offers these personal safety tips:
- Do not touch a fallen power line, or walk or drive through standing water if downed power lines are in the water. Avoid driving through flooded areas and standing water.
- Check CO detector batteries. Keep generators and any gasoline-powered engines outside, in a dry area, at least 20 feet away from any window, door or vent.
- Throw away food that may be contaminated, has not been properly refrigerated or that has an unusual odor, color or texture. When in doubt, throw it out.
- Do not use water that is or may be contaminated to wash dishes or food, brush teeth or clean hands, make ice or prepare baby formula.
- Keep children and pets out of affected areas until cleanup has been completed.
CO Health Alert
The CDC’s Health Alert Network issued a notice Sunday to advise clinicians who will be treating hurricane victims about the need to have a high index of suspicion for CO poisoning. Health officials said signs and symptoms of CO exposure are variable and nonspecific. The most common symptom is headache. Other possible symptoms include dizziness, flu-like symptoms with out fever, drowsiness, chest pain and altered mental status. The risk of carbon monoxide poisoning is increased by the use of alternative forms of energy during power outages, such as gasoline generators and propane or charcoal grills. Proper ventilation is required.
Although we cannot prevent hurricanes, check out these hurricane preparedness measures you can take in the event a natural disaster strikes.