- Wear sturdy shoes (steel toes and shanks are recommended) and clothing
- Hazardous chemicals and conditions may be present
- Inspect propane tanks for visible damage before turning on
- Covering clothing is recommended, when in proximity to ash. Wear gloves, long-sleeved shirts, and long pants to avoid skin contact, whenever possible. Goggles are recommended. Contact with wet ash may cause chemical burns or irritation on skin. Change your shoes and clothing prior to leaving the decontamination site, to avoid tracking ash into your car, home, etc.
- Anything in contact with ash should be sanitized and cleaned. Sorting through/cleaning burn debris is not recommended.
- Be aware of slip, trip, fall and puncture hazards.
- Do not use leaf blowers or do any activities that will put ash into the air.
- Double bag debris and 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.
It is important to understand the risk to your safety and health even after the fire is out. The soot and dirty water left behind may contain things that could make you sick. Be very careful if you touch any fire-damaged items. Ask the advice of the fire department, local building officials, your insurance agent, and restoration specialists before starting to clean or make repairs. Do not eat, drink, or breathe in anything that has been near the flames, smoke soot, or water used to put the fire out.
For more information: Returning to Home Ash Guide