Flood Safety for First Responders
Flood Protection for First Responders
As a first responder in Cottonwood, AZ, flooding is one of the most challenging situations you may encounter. It’s crucial to be prepared beforehand, so familiarize yourself with these tips:
- Ensure you have the necessary vaccinations.
- Have proper flood gear.
- Prepare for safety risks.
- Know post-flood protocol.
There are two CDC-required vaccinations for first responders. A tetanus booster is required unless you have received one in the last decade. If you’re at risk of contact with biohazards, a hepatitis B vaccine is also necessary.
Flood Response Gear
Appropriate gear is crucial for a first responder. Tall rubber boots, gloves, safety goggles, floatation devices and masks are usual essentials, but your state’s health department may have more recommendations.
Know the Risks
There are various safety hazards to watch out for after a flood.
• Although drowning is an obvious hazard, the risk factors may not be as apparent. It only takes a few inches of water to impair a vehicle’s ability to drive or carry you away on foot.
• Electricity poses a serious risk. The flood water itself may be charged due to power line damage. Electrical equipment may also be wet, so be cautious of touching it.
• Flood water may be contaminated by chemicals or waterborne diseases. Make sure your gear can protect you from these risks, and wash your hands often.
• Wild animals, particularly snakes or rodents, may take refuge in buildings. Any animal bite requires immediate medical attention.
• Flooded areas are prime conditions for mold and mildew to develop. Dispose of mold-contaminated material according to local protocol. You may also consider consulting a team of mold experts.
After your work is done, always shower and disinfect your gear to prevent further contamination.
Also consider a medical screening once your flood response work has been completed, especially if you’ve been exposed to contaminants or develop new symptoms.
While your duty as a first responder is to aid flood victims, it’s equally important to take precautions for yourself. Following protocols and knowing the hazards you may encounter will ensure not only your own safety but will enable you to continue the brave task of helping others.