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Fact Sheets for Disasters: Basic Clean-up
Take pictures of flood damage
Take pictures of the building and contents before you start cleaning. Pictures help with insurance claims.
Stay safe as you clean
Wear an N-95 respirator, rubber boots, rubber gloves and eye goggles to clean up.
Be careful with asbestos
Dry asbestos fiber can enter your lungs when you breathe. It can cause cancer. Wet asbestos is less likely to be in the air.
If you know your home or building has asbestos in it:
- Call an asbestos company to take it away safely; and
- Call the MPCA (651-296-6300) to find out where to safely take it.
If you think you may have asbestos:
- Look for a label that says asbestos; and
- Call an asbestos company for help.
What to throw away
Take out and throw away porous things that soak up water. Wood, wallboard, wallpaper, insulation, carpeting, and mattresses can grow mold that can make you sick. When in doubt, throw it out!
Wash hands well and often. Wash with soap and safe water!
Scrub all hard surfaces
First, scrub hard, “nonporous” surfaces like concrete, countertops and appliances with soap and safe water. Rinse well with safe water. Scrub and rinse with safe water before using a bleach mix. Do not mix bleach with soap or other products. See, “Disaster Quick Tips: Using Bleach.”
Dry out your home
Open doors and windows. Use fans and dehumidifiers to dry your home.
Use fuel-powered tools safely
Always use outdoors – never inside:
- Gasoline engines used to pump water or to make power; or
- Grills that use natural gas or charcoal
Use these tools away from enclosed spaces, garages, near open windows or doors, or air intakes. They make gases that can cause illness or death.
Clean up fuel-oil spills
Wear clothing that will not soak up oil when cleaning. Keep children and pets away from fuel-oil spills. Keep fresh air moving in area. Throw away items that are porous and have soaked up the oil. Keep away anything that can start a fire. An oil spill is a potential fire hazard. See also, "Fuel Oil Contamination During a Disaster"
Report the spill to the Minnesota Duty Officer Program.
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