In the aftermath of a hurricane or severe nor-easter, it’s reasonable to want to clean up the damage on your property immediately. Depending on the severity of the damage, your home could be exposed to the elements if not quickly repaired. However, simply cleaning up the debris can expose you to something far more dangerous: asbestos. With the disturbance of this hazardous substance, it’s important you learn the steps to avoiding asbestos during storm damage cleanup.
Why is Asbestos More Harmful After Damage from a Storm?
To this day, asbestos is widespread throughout the US. Due to it’s fireproofing quality, it was a popular material used in construction, and even houses built up until 1990 can contain asbestos. If a severe storm is powerful enough to demolish property, it can disturb the asbestos that was encapsulated within the walls and release tiny airborne fibers that can be inhaled. While sifting through the wreckage, you’ll be susceptible to serious health risks if asbestos is present. Therefore, you must exercise extreme caution when performing storm damage cleanup.
How Can I Avoid Asbestos During Storm Damage Cleanup?
If you suspect there is asbestos that has been disturbed by the storm, you should hire an asbestos abatement team to safely contain and clean up the debris. Otherwise, if your only option is to clean up the damages yourself, some steps to minimize your risk of exposure include:
- Minimize Breakage: To avoid disturbing any unseen asbestos, only remove construction materials that are essential to clean up. Removing unnecessary debris could cause breakage that releases asbestos fibers.
- Wet Materials: Dampen wreckage to decrease the chances of asbestos fibers from becoming airborne. Just be aware of any electrical hazards before doing so.
- Contact Local Landfill: Call the landfill or transfer station to determine their safety protocols and guidelines for asbestos disposal.
- Don’t Burn the Wreckage: Burning the construction materials can lead to widespread asbestos contamination carried by wind and smoke, affecting the environment.
It’s also recommended you contact your state’s Department of Environmental Protection, as they will relay the federal and state regulations for handling asbestos in private or commercial properties.
Avoiding asbestos during storm damage cleanup can save you from serious health complications in the future. While there are ways to minimize your risk when cleaning up construction materials, it’s strongly recommended you hire an experienced asbestos abatement company to handle the job if harmful substances are involved. At Fiber Control, Inc., we can safely remove asbestos and other hazardous materials from the site, and we can even remediate or remove any ensuing complications from mold. If you need assistance with asbestos cleanup, contact us today.