Tip Sheets

Snakes, contaminated water among dangers for Florence recovery workers

Media Contact

Rachel Rhodes

In the days ahead, Hurricane Florence recovery workers face many dangers as they assist in cleanup and rescue efforts, including contaminated water, structurally unsafe buildings and wildlife.

Nellie Brown

Director of Workplace Health & Safety Programs

Nellie Brown, director of Workplace Health & Safety Programs for Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, provides advice for those participating in recovery efforts.

Brown says:

Prepare yourself

“Make sure your tetanus vaccination is current, and wear steel-toed shoes, gloves, hearing protection and other protective gear.

Know where to find help

“Identify and know how to reach your supervisor or incident commander, and also locate the nearest first aid facility in case of injury to you or your team members.

Assume the environment is dangerous

“Assume that any water and food in the flood zone has been contaminated. Also assume that electrical lines and machinery are live until proven otherwise, and that damaged buildings have roof, walls or flooring that could give way. You should be aware that clean-up equipment such as chainsaws can be hazardous and that generators used in power outages produce carbon monoxide.

Keep an eye out for wildlife

“Fire ants, snakes and other animals will be flushed above ground by rising waters. If bitten by a snake, take notice of its markings so that you can inform health caregivers and receive the proper antivenin.”

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