|CA Dept of Health Services||Safe Cleanup of Fire & Ash|
|Cal/OSHA||Worker Health/Safety during Wildfires|
|City of Santa Rosa||Assessing Fire Damaged Structures
Smoke Damage - Assessment & Procedures
Click here for a list of our Insurance Company's claims numbers.
REDUCE EXPOSURE TO ASH WHEN RETURNING HOME AFTER A FIRE
(Guidelines from the CA Dept of Health Services)
If you live near homes that burned, you should be aware of possible hazards to your health, even if your home was not damaged by the fire.
Ash and debris from burnt structures may be blown indoors and into areas not affected by the fires. Ash contains toxic substances and may be irritating to the skin, eyes, nose and throat. Ash is unhealthy to breathe and may trigger asthmatic attacks.
Following these simple tips will reduce your exposure to ash and protect your health:
Keep Ash Away
- Do not allow children to play in the ash and wash off children’s toys before children play with them.
- Immediately wash any part of your body that touches ash to avoid irritation. The best protection for children is to keep them indoors to reduce their exposure until ash has been removed.
- Wash fruits and vegetables from your garden thoroughly before eating them.
- Remove shoes before entering your home or use “sticky mats” in entryways and doors to remove dust and ash from your shoes. Sticky mats are sold in hardware stores.
- Keep pets out of ash areas and wash pets when they have been exposed to ash.
Keep Your Indoor Environment Clean
- Frequently clean indoor surfaces and follow by wet mopping to reduce exposure to ash indoors.
- Use only high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA-filter) vacuum cleaners. Shop vacuums and other common vacuum cleaners do not filter out small particles, but instead can put particles back into the air where they can be inhaled.
Wear Protective Clothing and a Respirator When Working Outside
- Do not use leaf blowers or do any activities that will put ash into the air.
- Wear gloves, long-sleeved shirts, long pants, socks, and shoes to avoid skin contact with ash and other debris.
- Double bag ash in plastic bags or other containers. Be sure to seal all bags or containers to prevent ash from being redistributed in the environment by wind or rain.
- Wear a close-fitting respirator mask that is rated N-95 or P-100 to block particles from ash or smoke from being inhaled. N-95 respirators are well-fitted when they do not come into contact with facial hair; strap tension is adequate, not overly tightened; and masks fit across the nose bridge. A tight seal would not be possible for most children, even with a small adult-size model. People with heart or lung disease should consult their physician before using a respirator during post-fire cleanup.
- The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is the only agency that certifies respirators to determine that they adequately protect people. Look for NIOSH approval on the package or label.
SWIMMING POOLS IMPACTED BY SMOKE & ASH
The Sonoma County Department of Health Services have issued recommended guidelines for the maintenance of pools impacted by smoke and ash contamination or fire damage. Click here for a full list of items that should be completed prior to the pool being used.
Deck Cleaning: Do not hose down the deck to storm drains. You may spray water lightly to minimize dust and ashes from becoming airborne, then use a stiff brush or broom to sweep up small amounts of ash and debris. A mop and bucket could also be used for cleanup. Large amounts of ash and debris may need to be cleaned by a professional hazardous material cleanup service.
Draining Pools: Draining of pools is not recommended. If you must drain the pool, contact the sanitation agency of your local jurisdiction for guidance. Never empty swimming pool water and/or chemicals to the storm drain. They must be drained to the sanitary sewer. Within the City of Santa Rosa call Environmental Compliance at (707) 543-3369. For unincorporated areas call the Sonoma County Water Agency, Environmental Services at (707) 521-1820 or (707) 547-1078.
Mosquito Breeding: Pools with standing water could breed mosquitoes. Please call Marin and Sonoma County Vector Control at (800) 231-3236 to have staff come and stock the pool with mosquito-eating fish until the power and pool recirculation system are restored.
Damaged Pool, Enclosure or Recirculation System: For pools that have had damage to the recirculation system, the pool enclosure, or the pool shell, contact a pool professional for an evaluation.