CDC Emergency Partners - Stay Safe After a Disaster

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Emergency Partners Newsletter


October 11, 2017 

CDC’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is bringing together CDC and ATSDR staff to work efficiently to support the local, state, and federal response to public health needs resulting from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

The information below can also help those faced with recovering in the aftermath of Hurricane Nate.

Updated Key Messages

Front cover of key messages for October 2, 2017

Use these key messages, available in English and Spanish, to share important safety information with your readers, as well as your friends and family. Feel free to copy and paste the information, links, and images into your newsletters, emails, and social media posts.

These key messages were updated October 6, 2017. Updates are in bold blue font. This week's key messages include additional messages about:


    Be Safe When Cleaning up Mold

    Moldy house after a flood


    After natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods, excess moisture and standing water contribute to the growth of mold in homes and other buildings. When returning to a home that has been flooded, be aware that mold may be present and may be a health risk for your family. Keep children and pets out of the affected area until cleanup has been completed.

    People with asthma, allergies, or other breathing conditions may be more sensitive to moldPeople with a weakened immune system, such as people receiving treatment for cancer, people who have had an organ or stem cell transplant, and people taking medicines that suppress the immune system, are more likely to get a serious illness from mold. If you have a breathing problem like asthma, a weakened immune system, or are pregnant, try not to enter a building with mold damage. Children under 12 should not enter a building with mold damage. 

    While cleaning up areas with mold damage, wear a NIOSH-approved N-95 respirator, or one that provides even more protection. Look for N-95 on the package. Detailed information about cleaning up mold is available in the Homeowner’s and Renter’s Guide to Mold Cleanup After Disasters.

    Prevent Injury after a Disaster

    chainsaw cutting through fallen tree trunk

    The risk for injury during and after a hurricane and other natural disasters is high. But there are steps you can take to keep you and your family safer.

    • To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, only use generators, pressure washers, grills, camp stoves, or other gasoline, propane, natural gas, or charcoal-burning devices outside and at least 20 feet away from open windows, doors, and air vents.
    • Follow chain saw safety rules and use chain saws according to manufacturer instructions.
    • Use ladders safely. Stand your ladder on flat ground. To reach a roof, use a ladder that is at least three feet taller than the edge of the roof.
    • Immediately clean out all open wounds and cuts with soap and clean water. Keep wounds covered with clean, dry bandages. If a wound gets red, swells, or drains, seek immediate medical attention.
    • Avoid wild or stray animals and biting or stinging insects.
    • Avoid the use of electric tools or appliances while standing in water.
    • Avoid driving through flooded areas and standing water. Do not drive through standing water if downed power lines are in the water. If a power line falls across your car while you are driving, stay inside the vehicle and continue to drive away from the line.

    For information specific information on avoiding injuries after a disaster, visit CDC's Web page "Prevent Injury after a Disaster."