TORONTO, July 13 /CNW/ - When disaster strikes, making it safely through
an earthquake, tornado, storm, flash flood or other catastrophic event
may only be part of the challenge. Many storm-related fatalities and
injuries can occur when people return home to assess damage and begin
repairs. CSA International, a leading testing and certification
organization, offers the following tips to aid in safe storm and
disaster recovery efforts:
Before Entering a Building
Return home only when advised by local authorities, obey all emergency
personnel instructions, and be prepared with safety apparel and
equipment that is certified by an accredited certification
organization, such as CSA International. Basic items should include
protective footwear, gloves, headwear, eyewear and protective masks;
personal first aid kit with antiseptic wipes; portable battery, solar,
or crank-operated radio; clean drinking water; and flashlight or
chemical glow sticks.
Before approaching your home, check the surrounding area for hazards
such as downed power lines, debris, or other dangers. Mark and report
any hazards or hazardous goods to local authorities. All power lines
should be treated as live - never touch them.
Examine the home's exterior for gas leaks. If possible, turn the gas
off at the meter.
If you can access your main electric box without going through
standing water or entering the home, turn off the main breaker. If the
gas or electrical controls are inside the home, turn them off only
after it has been deemed safe to enter your home by qualified
emergency personnel or a building inspector.
Check outside the home for obvious structural faults. Do not enter if
serious structural damage is evident or if you have doubts about the
safety of the building.
Once Inside a Building
Upon entering, move slowly and carefully while watching for hazards.
Beware of jammed doors, sagging ceilings or floors that suggest
structural collapse. Leave immediately if you hear shifting or unusual
Do not operate gas or electrical appliances until they have been
dried, cleaned and inspected. Replace only with certified equipment.
Check chimneys and vents for dirt, debris, and leaks before using wood
burning or gas appliances. Any blockages may lead to unsafe or fatal
levels of carbon monoxide in the home.
Check for broken, leaky or shifted water and gas pipes and lines
Fuel-powered generators, pumps, barbecues, camping stoves, and fuel-
burning equipment exhaust is dangerous within confined spaces. Never
use such items indoors or in an attached garage. Using
battery-operated, certified carbon monoxide alarms can alert you to
dangerous levels of gases.
Beware of standing water inside and outside the home that can act as a
breeding ground for micro-organisms, such as viruses, bacteria and
mould. When floodwaters have sewage or animal carcasses present,
infectious disease is an added concern. Do not use contaminated or
potentially contaminated water for cooking or washing.
Everything that has been touched by floodwater should be cleaned and
disinfected. Materials that cannot be effectively cleaned, such as
carpeting, mattresses, and stuffed toys or furniture should be
discarded. Remove and discard wet wallboard, drywall, gypsum and
insulation. Start the drying process as soon as possible by opening
all windows and doors to circulate fresh air inside the home. Use fans
and dehumidifiers certified by an accredited organization, such as CSA
International, to aid in the drying process.
If your basement remains flooded, removing water too quickly from your
basement may put pressure on your home's outer walls and significantly
damage or collapse your foundation. Drain your basement slowly and
carefully only when standing water outside the home is no longer
visible on the ground.
Heating and air conditioning ducts may have mud or debris and may need
to be cleaned and disinfected.
Generators and Tools
Use generators carefully and always follow instructions, ensuring your
generator is rated for the amount of electricity you will need. To
prevent shock, the generator must be properly grounded. Only use
generators or tools that have been tested and certified by an
accredited organization, such as CSA International, and always follow
Do not connect a generator directly to a home's wiring, which could
send high-voltage current or "backfeed" to outside power lines
connected to your house. Backfeed could be fatal to electrical
workers, neighbours or anyone that touches the power line and may
cause additional damage to your home.
To prevent fires, never refuel a generator while it's running or still
hot and keep an appropriate fire extinguisher nearby at all times. Be
sure to store fuel containers outside and away from buildings or
If you must use an extension cord, ensure it's certified for outdoor
use and check it often for overheating. Do not attach multiple
Consider using portable solar panels and battery units for smaller
Do not use electrical tools in wet locations and make sure all tools
and appliances are properly grounded and double insulated. Mud or dirt
in a grounded outlet may prevent the grounding system from working and
lead to electrocution. If unsure about the condition of a grounded
outlet, call an electrician.
Use the electrically-operated tools one at a time to avoid overloading
Beware of scammers offering counterfeit goods or structural repair
assistance. Opportunists often use disasters to take advantage of
people in need to make empty promises for repairs or sell fake goods.
Be cautious of people selling flimsy or suspect tools and products.
Look for a certification mark.
For more everyday consumer tips and safety advice, please visit cr="true" href="http://www.csagroup.org/consumers/consumer_site/">www.csasafetytips.com
About CSA International
CSA International is a provider of
product testing and certification services for electrical, mechanical,
plumbing, gas and a variety of other products. Recognized in Canada, the
U.S. and around the world, CSA International certification marks appear
on billions of products worldwide. CSA International is a division of
CSA Group, which also includes CSA Standards, a leading solutions based
standards organization, providing standards development, application
products, training and advisory services; and OnSpeX, a provider of
consumer product evaluation, inspection and advisory services for
retailers and manufacturers. For more information, visit cr="true" href="http://www.csa-international.org/Default.asp?language=english">www.csa-international.org
SOURCE CSA INTERNATIONAL
For further information: For further information:
Marco A. Ouji
Media Relations Officer