Emergency services are reminding people in flood-affected areas in Northern NSW to ensure good personal hygiene and safety is maintained when cleaning up following the floods.
Floodwaters contaminated with sewage may carry a range of bacteria, viruses and parasites. Experience from past floods shows that the greatest risk of infection is bacteria picked up through cuts and abrasions.
The most effective way of preventing infection is:
- thorough hand washing after contact with flood contaminated materials;
- wearing boots and gloves;
- cover cuts or abrasions and ensure they do not come into contact with flood water or contaminated materials.
People should contact their GP if they are concerned about their health. As a precaution, people should treat all floodwater as potentially contaminated with sewage. If you cut yourself on something that has been contaminated with floodwater, it is important to check with your GP about whether you need to receive a tetanus vaccination.
Keep children away from flood affected areas and avoid all unnecessary contact with mud and floodwaters. Ensure feet are covered if they likely to come into contact with mud and always wear gloves when handling flood affected items or mud.
Children's toys affected by floodwater should be discarded if they are soft toys or moulded plastic toys with air injection holes. Solid toys should be disinfected before allowing children to play with them
Resident should always wash their hands thoroughly with soap and clean water, or with an alcohol gel:
- after handling flood-affected items;
- when participating in flood clean up activities;
- immediately after going to the toilet; and
- always before handling or eating food
Household Fire Safety for flood recovery:
The Fire and Rescue NSW are advising members of the public in flood affected areas to take care around their houses, properties and businesses when they start the clean up process. Some of the key issues residents should observe are;
- If you have lost household power and are using candles or portable light or heating sources, never leave them unattended and ensure they are kept well away from all flammable material.
- Always extinguish candles or any other open flame before going to bed.
- If you have lost household power, turn off all appliances at the power points as they may be affected by a power surge when the power resumes.
- Any electrical appliances which may have been in contact with water must be inspected by a qualified electrician before use to ensure they can be operated safely.
- If drying clothing, keep wet clothing at least 1 metre from heaters or fireplaces and never leave them unattended. If you use a clothes dryer make sure you clean the lint filter each and every time you use it.
- If you have a garage or shed, remember to take extra care with any stored chemicals and fuels. Handle with extreme caution and use the recommended protective equipment: gloves, safety goggles, etc.
- If you are concerned about stored chemicals, contact your local Fire Station for advice.
In the event of fire, leave the house and call 000 (triple zero) for Fire and Rescue NSW.
For emergency flood and storm assistance, the public can continue to contact the SES on 132 500 or visit their website www.ses.nsw.gov.au
Road closures can be obtained by visiting www.livetraffic.com or by calling local councils.
For information about disaster relief grants for contents and structural repairs, available to low income earners with no insurance contact the Disaster Welfare Assistance Line on 1800 018 444.
Information on health during floods and clean up is available on the NSW Health website at: http://www.emergency.health.nsw.gov.au/floods/index.asp
For general information regarding emergencies, the public can visit the Emergency Management NSW website www.emergency.nsw.gov.au.
For all other emergencies, the public should contact Triple Zero.
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