Get Your PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) On!
Stay safe in a disaster zone by wearing the right gear. Click the '+' on each piece of PPE to reveal when and where to use it.
To choose the correct hand protection, consider the environment that workers are entering, from an area contaminated with toxic substances to the assets they will encounter. For example, leather gloves are good for handling debris, but are not suitable for avoiding chemicals, requiring nitrile gloves be worn beneath the leather.
Proper clothing for the job is essential for safety. Where some environments will require simple work attire, areas with flooding may require full-body Tyvek suits for further protection. Tyvek suits will not protect against all chemicals, which could require HAZWOPER training and vapor or full encapsulation suits. Understand the hazards before entering an area to choose the proper protection.
Damage from flooding or high winds may cause components to release chemicals in gaseous form. In areas where toxic fumes are present, respiratory protection is a must. There are many components to such protection, including a variety of respirators to fit different situations and filter cartridge ratings per chemical. Understanding these components is paramount — if personnel are not trained to use this equipment, they should not enter these areas.
Head protection in areas with low clearance or falling-object hazards is essential in disaster zones. Hard hats can effectively protect against impact, penetration, electrical shock and burn hazards. Not all jobs will require this equipment, but remember that head injuries can be life-changing.
Foot and Leg Protection
In areas that may have sharp debris, be slippery when wet or have electrical hazards present, the proper foot protection is necessary. Falling or rolling objects, corrosive chemical exposure or electrocution can be avoided with foot and leg protection. Leggings, toe guards, steel-toed boots and nuke boots all fit different applications and can be necessary for disaster-stricken areas.
Face and Eye Protection
Hazards to the face and eyes from flying debris or chemicals can be common in a post-disaster area. Having the right protection and being sure that the protection fits properly is important to maintaining a safe working environment. Prescription lenses will not protect like safety goggles — understanding the environment and the required work will dictate the necessary protection.
When the work requires specific actions, specialty tools may be required. Carrying something as simple and lightweight as a flashlight for inspecting darkened areas and a notebook for keeping records can make the difference between a job well done and having to repeat a task. Understand the job parameters and carry the tools necessary for completing the work.