Choosing The Right Respirator and PPE For Hurricane Disaster Clean Up

Shanna Cooper
Wed Oct 05, 2022

Hurricanes are incredibly dangerous, leaving destruction and havoc behind them. But the hazards of a hurricane do not end there. In fact, the post hurricane clean up and recovery can bring some of the most dangerous situations as storm surge aftermath creates a variety of harmful hazards/environments/health problems to those engaging in clean up efforts. One of the most common health problems seen post hurricane, is lung disease. An occurrence that increases after hurricanes according to the American Lung Association. 

Knowing what type of respiratory protection and PPE is best and having it in full supply can be the difference between safe and successful recovery efforts and long term injuries or deaths.

What Hazards May Be Present After A Hurricane?

Post hurricane work can range from rescue and recovery to demolition and remediation, and construction. This work will likely bring about respiratory hazards and physical hazards. 

When engaging in rescue and recovery, workers may be exposed to a variety of communicable diseases, viruses, airborne infections, mold, gas, and carbon monoxide poisoning. Skin to skin contact with unknown substances, and respiratory exposure to these contaminants is common.

When engaging in construction, demolition and remediation phases, workers will commonly be exposed to mold, asbestos, hazardous chemicals, airborne dust, metal fumes from torch cutting, etc. They will also find themselves around sharp material, unknown objects and possible skin contact with dangerous substances. Loud noises with the possibility of hearing damage may also occur.

Is Wearing A Respirator/PPE After A Flood Or Hurricane Helpful For Preventing Disease Transmission?

High levels of contaminants can be found in the floodwaters. In these events, the best way to prevent the spread of such harm is to ensure the use of PPE such as appropriate respirators, suits, gloves, and boots to keep an individual worker and other workers around them safe from spread. 




What Types of Respirators And PPE Should Be Worn During Recovery Operations?

Floodwaters are often mixed with a variety of dangerous bacteria, hazardous agricultural/industrial chemicals, dead animal life and run off from pipe leaks and sewage leaks. Standing water and dampness are also a breeding ground for bacteria, viruses and mold. 

 For respirators, it is recommended that a worker be equipped with a respirator approved to an N95, N100, R95, P95, or P100 filtration level. 

If a worker is working directly with mold, asbestos, or silica, then a PAPR, disposable suit, long gloves, and goggles are recommended at a minimum.

Please contact us for appropriate respirator recommendations.

In need of a respirator? See our line up here.

When working in standing water, workers must be outfitted with waterproof boots, gloves and disposable suits to avoid skin contact with flood water. 

Check out our boot and glove offerings here. 

Check out our suit line up here.

When engaging in construction and demolition efforts, a hard hat and hearing protection are mandatory.

Check out our hearing protection here.

What Additional PPE Can Be Helpful To First Responders?

First responders and volunteers will spend hours working tirelessly during the ongoing clean up efforts. Ensuring that they have a safe and organized zone to perform their work at a natural disaster site is imperative.

 Articulated shelters, like our collection here, are designed to be rapidly deployed, withstand unexpected weather and rough conditions, and provide a safe and reliable structure for teams. 

With the risk of communicable diseases and other physical harm when rescuing others, we also advise that first response teams always have a patient isolation system on hand to protect the patient as well as themselves during transport to a hospital.

Check out our patient isolation systems here.

Prevention is essential during natural disaster recovery. 

All workers have a right to a safe workplace, including during clean up efforts. 

If you are working in the clean up efforts of a hurricane such as Hurricane Ian, or know someone who is, and are in need of PPE, please do not hesitate to contact us. 

As a Florida based company, we have full product availability and are ready to assist with keeping those who are suffering from Hurricane Ian safe out there. 

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