From the Desk of Chris Trahan Cain, Executive Director
Protect Yourself While Protecting Others
Courtesy of Texas National Guard
The images from the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey are heartbreaking. At this moment, our thoughts are with the victims of Hurricane Harvey and the emergency responders who are working tirelessly on rescue operations.
As the rescue and recovery efforts continue and rebuilding begins, it is critical that both those personally impacted by Harvey and the emergency responders are aware of the many related hazards that come with the aftermath of such a storm and have the information needed to protect themselves. For example:
Linemen and electricians, who are already working to restore power, are at risk of being electrocuted from improperly wired generators that can energize downed power lines. OSHA has a good fact sheet on portable generators that warns of this hazard, and this resource from Central Maine Power Company explains the hazard of improperly wired generators.
Residents and workers are also at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from portable generators.CPWR's hazard alert card on the topic is a quick reference.
As efforts move from the rescue to recovery and rebuilding stages, cleanup activites create a new series of hazards. If you are in the affected area, or plan to help with the recovery effort, the resources below can help you prepare.
The Emergency Response Resources available from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) cover a broad range of typical disaster-site hazards, from downed power lines to mold spores to disaster site management.
OSHA has also gathered information on flood and hurricanepreparedness to help workers and volunteers avoid illness and injury.
In addition, CPWR and North America's Building Trades Unions operate a Disaster Response Training program that prepares building trades men and women to safely work in disaster sites, restoring essential services and removing hazards without interfering with the vital activities of first responders. Our new Android app (right) provides ready access to information a variety of emergency situations, including hurricanes.
We encourage all those responding to or affected by Harvey to use these free resources to stay safe.
CPWR - The Center for Construction Research and Training, 8484 Georgia Ave. #1000, Silver Spring, MD 20910