This disaster mission appears to be categorized as a manageable disaster (environmentally controlled surroundings, which include but are not limited to available running water, roads, and electrical power), that took place through the state of Florida. Floodwaters from Tropical Storm Debby’s torrential downpour damaged homes and closed roads throughout the Florida Panhandle with waters reaching 27 feet in some areas. The devastation affected parts of Interstate 10 in north Florida were closed due to flooding on a 50-mile stretch between Jacksonville and Tallahassee.
Region: Southeast region of the United States
- The area is mostly developed suburban living with some rural living. Damage has been reported for the state of Florida with damage mainly throughout the central Gulf Coast counties in the Florida Panhandle.
Weather: Summer - July
- Varying weather conditions with temperatures ranging from highs in the low 90s, and dropping in the evenings to upper 70s over the next seven days. Also, prepare for a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms over the next 7-days.
- Heat-related illness is of greater concern when temperatures are high or when work increases an individual’s heat stress. Workers exposed to hot and humid conditions are at risk of heat illness, especially those doing heavy work tasks or using bulky protective clothing and equipment. Some workers might be at greater risk than others if they have not built up a tolerance to hot conditions.
- Protect yourself by consulting with your supervisor and site Disaster Safety Official for site and job specific controls; report heat symptoms early to your supervisor. Heat illnesses range from heat rash and heat cramps to heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat stroke requires immediate medical attention as it can result in death. Drinking water often, taking breaks, and limiting time in the heat can help prevent heat illness.
Disaster Specific Information / News and Announcements:
- During flood cleanup, the risk of wounds may be increased. For this reason, cleanup workers should be sure that they are up-to-date with tetanus vaccination, ideally before starting cleanup activities. Adults need a tetanus booster shot every 10 years. Td or Tdap can be used; getting the Tdap instead of Td for one tetanus booster during adulthood is recommended to maintain protection against pertussis. Being up-to-date for tetanus vaccine can greatly simplify the treatment for any wound that might occur.
- Vaccinations are available on an as needed basis. Vaccinations should always be up-to-date.
Disease Related to Travel Area
- Pack according to what the working conditions will be when you get there and the weather conditions for the area (e.g., comfortable, form fitting, light weight clothing including long pants and a long sleeved shirt or coveralls). For most work in flooded areas, workers will need soft hats or other protective cover as appropriate (e.g., hard hats), goggles with shields (sun/glare-protective lenses may be needed in some work settings), heavy cut-resistant work gloves, and electrically insulated, watertight boots with steel toe and insole (not just steel shank). Tennis shoes or sneakers should not be worn because they will transfer contamination and will not prevent punctures, bites, or crush injuries. Hip waders may be appropriate to help prevent contact with flood waters.
- Workers must also be aware of dangers from physical hazards such as obstacles covered by flood waters (storm debris, depressions, drainage openings, ground erosion) and from displaced reptiles or other animals.
- Be aware of stray animals that are roaming the streets. Interaction with them may result in defensive attacks because of the recent activities. To prevent animal bites (possible rabies) stay away from the animals. PLEASE DO NOT PET THE ANIMALS.
- Remember to bring a 2-3 month supply of all medications necessary for any medical conditions that require medical treatment on a daily basis.
- Down Power Lines. For those employees working in the field, there may be areas where you are working without power due to down power lines. Do not go near downed lines, even if they appear dead. They can become energized again without warning. Do not get out of your car if a downed wire is touching it. Your car will isolate you from harm.
- Cleanup Hazards. Storm and flood cleanup activities can be hazardous. There will be miles of debris and devastation left behind in the flood waters. Workers and volunteers involved with flood cleanup should be aware of the potential dangers involved, and the proper safety precautions. Work-related hazards that could be encountered include: electrical hazards, Carbon Monoxide, musculoskeletal hazards, heat stress, motor vehicles, hazardous materials, fire, confined spaces and falls.
- Mold. Extensive water damage after major hurricanes and floods increases the likelihood of mold contamination in buildings. Where uncertainties in scientific knowledge exist, practical applications designed to be protective of a person's health are presented. Public health strategies and recommendations assume that, in the aftermath of major hurricanes or floods, buildings wet for >48 hours will generally support visible and extensive mold growth and should be remediated, and excessive exposure to mold-contaminated materials can cause adverse health effects in susceptible persons regardless of the type of mold or the extent of contamination
- For the majority of persons, undisturbed mold is not a substantial health hazard. Mold is a greater hazard for persons with conditions such as impaired host defenses or mold allergies. To prevent exposure that could result in adverse health effects from disturbed mold, persons should avoid areas where mold contamination is obvious.
Standard operating conditions allow for normal living conditions for this deployment.
- The Florida Panhandle is impacted the most by the floods located in mostly developed areas, and some rural areas.
Safety & Security
- BE WISE!!!
- Wear your seatbelt!
- Lock your car! (no matter where you are)
- Don’t carry large amounts of money around.
- Don’t wear flashy clothing, jewelry, etc.
- Use the buddy system at all times.
Health and Wellness
- Worker Fatigue. Worker fatigue management is an ideal tool to execute when working in an environment such as this, were stress and fatigue are natural reactions. You will be at risk of feeling uncomfortable levels of stress. This is due to the unexpected and sometimes troubling changes to the natural order of things and the interruption of your normal routines.
- Pace yourself
- Watch out for your co-worker
- Be aware; stay focused
- Take frequent rest breaks
- Eat and sleep as regular a schedule as possible
- First aid. Even for minor cuts and burns first aid is very important during flood cleanup. Immediately clean all wounds and cuts with soap and clean water. Talk to a doctor or other health professional on the scene to find out if you need more treatment.
- Sanitation. Waders should be cleaned with soap and water and air dried between uses. In all instances, workers are advised to wash their hands with soap and clean water, especially before eating or drinking.
- If you need a reasonable accommodation, you should notify immediately your supervisor and/or cadre manager.
- If you feel you need a break while working inform your supervisor, this will help to decrease worker fatigue, overexertion, and accidents.
- Keeping your body hydrated by drinking plenty of water while working, this keeps the risk for infection down because you are keeping your body temperature cool.
- Using sanitation precautions while working at a disaster site will prevent the spread of disease and sickness.
Travel Updates and Alerts
Please check periodically for updates on current conditions of this area in Florida. This will keep you accurately informed. If you have any further questions upon arrival you can reference your Safety Officer on-site.