QUICK TIPS: Personal Protective Equipment - EH: Minnesota Department of Health


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Fact Sheets for Disasters: Personal Protective Equipment

Personal Safety

During flood cleanup, wash hands and exposed skin well and often. Scrub with soap and safe water. Dry off with paper towels if you have them, then throw towels out. Clean cuts right away and provide basic first aid. Seek medical help for more severe injuries.

Skin Protection

To protect your skin:
  • Do not let skin touch floodwater or items damaged by water;
  • Wear waterproof gloves over heavy work gloves;
  • Keep the inside of gloves clean;
  • Before reusing gloves, clean them with soap and safe water and dry;
  • Wear long sleeve shirts, long pants, and waterproof gear.

Head and Eye Protection

Wear a hard hat in areas where objects can fall. Wear eye goggles without side vents. Goggles must fit well to help keep dust and water out of eyes.

Breathing Protection

Avoid breathing dust, mold or mold spores - wear an N-95 respirator to clean up. Sweeping, sawing, mold removal and other cleaning can put dust and mold into the air.

N-95 respirators must fit well. Follow the directions that come with the N-95 respirator for a good fit. Do not wear a respirator if you have any breathing problems. For a short demonstration video on how to use an N-95 respirator, see: Respirator Safety (9 minutes 17 seconds)

Buy N-95 respirators at safety supply stores and most home improvement stores.

Foot Protection

Wear watertight boots with steel toes and insoles around flooded and damaged areas. Shoes with steel toes and insoles are better than shoes with only a steel shank.

More Tips

  • Avoid working alone;
  • Take rest breaks;
  • Drink plenty of fluids;
  • Wear hearing protection near loud noise;
  • Wear a Coast Guard approved life vest when near or in flooded areas.

More Detailed Fact Sheets

Updated Tuesday, March 31, 2015 at 03:00PM