Protect yourself during clean-up work

Prevent the risk of electrocution before you begin clean-up

Follow these instructions:

  • Cut off electrical power to the flood-damaged area from the breaker box.
  • Avoid all contact between electrical equipment or cords and water.
  • Wear rubber boots at all times if there is water on the floor.
  • Ask for assistance from Hydro-Québec if necessary.

Prevent the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning

Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas that you cannot see or smell. It does not irritate the eyes or airway. Breathing in carbon monoxide can be very dangerous for your health and may even lead to death. Prevent the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and install a carbon monoxide detector in your home.

Find and eliminate mould

Mould is a natural fungus whose spores are invisible to the naked eye. To grow, mould needs water and nutritive material, such as drywall or cardboard. When there is significant mould growth, it can lead to health problems. Learn how to find and eliminate mould in your home.

Protect yourself against tetanus

Before beginning the clean-up, make sure that you are protected against tetanus. This is recommended for disaster victims, their families and volunteers who may be injured while working in recently flooded areas.

To maintain adequate protection, it is necessary to be vaccinated every 10 years. For more information, call Info-Santé at 811.

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Prevent the risk of infection from dirty water, microbes, particles on the ground or chemical residues:

Follow these instructions and recommendations for staying safe during clean-up and construction work:

  • Wear rubber work gloves to avoid all contact between your skin and contaminated water. Do not touch clean surfaces with dirty gloves and wash your hands after you take the gloves off.
  • Cover any cuts with a waterproof sterile bandage.
  • Wear safety glasses, goggles or a visor if there is a risk of dirty water splashing your eyes.
  • Wear a N95 disposable respirator (mask) if there is mould or an emission of dust or other particles in the air. The mask must cover your nose and mouth and must be changed after every few hours of use, or more often if it becomes wet or dirty. Depending on the scope of the work, a full mask and a N100 (or p-100) filter may be necessary. Make sure that the mask is the correct size and is properly adjusted. Men must shave their skin closely on the part of the face where the mask comes into contact with the skin.
  • Avoid contact with dead animals. Consult the section on disposing of a dead animal for more information. Avoid eating, changing your contact lenses or smoking on the clean-up site.
  • Transport the clothes you wore when cleaning in a sealed bag or container and wash them separately from the other clothing in your home.
  • Do not attempt to move broken or unlabeled containers of chemicals or damaged gas cylinders without first consulting your municipal fire department.

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Avoid injury

Avoid injury by doing the following:

  • Do not pull, push or lift loads that are too heavy or unwieldy, as doing so could cause muscle problems in your back, shoulders or knees.
  • Use proper methods and body postures while you work. Avoid excessive or unsafe strain.
  • Reduce the weight of the loads you need to move.
  • Make sure the loads you handle are compact, and that you can grip and handle them securely close to your body.
  • Reduce the distance over which you will carry a load as much as possible.
  • Use appropriate lifting and moving equipment.

Properly care for any injuries incurred during clean-up work:

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