Tips for Disaster First Responders
A natural disaster can wreak widespread havoc throughout a region. When a disaster strikes Folly Beach, SC, residents in the area depend not only on their insurance providers and flood remediation experts but also on the emergency response teams that work to keep people safe. If you are new at being a first responder, here are some tips on how to protect yourself and work effectively after a flood.
Wear Personal Protective Equipment
Flood water is teeming with bacteria. Before you enter any structure that has been flooded, you need to put on the appropriate protective gear:
- Chemical-resistant coveralls
- Rubber gloves
- Heavy duty rubber boots
If you need to enter a small enclosed area such as a crawl space, it's also advisable to wear an N-95 mask. In addition to filtering out bacteria, it also keeps you from inhaling the mold spores that tend to multiple anywhere there's excess water. You can get these masks at most hardware stores, so it's easy to stock up before you head to the flood response site.
Protect Yourself With Medical Intervention
As a first responder, you run the risk of coming into contact with contaminated water and surfaces, so it's important to make sure your immunizations are up to date. If it's been over 10 years since you've had a tetanus shot, you should get a Td or Tdap booster. If you are working directly with infected persons, it is advisable to get a Hepatitis B shot. If you notice any symptoms such as headache, nausea, vomiting, rashes, fever, dizziness, or fatigue while working, stop immediately, and seek medical attention. By taking care of yourself, you are making room for others better equipped to take over the work and get it done more quickly.
Being a first responder is important work. Taking the necessary precautions to protect yourself and those around you helps you be more effective.