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Storm damaged buildings

Buildings that have been damaged can produce a range of materials that may be hazardous including asbestos, chemicals such as cleaning and farm chemicals, excessive dust and particles such as flakes of lead-based paint.

Cleaning up storm damaged buildings can create serious health and environmental hazards if simple safety procedures are not followed.

If your house, sheds or other buildings have been damaged by storms, clean up carefully to prevent risks to your health and that of your community.

General cleanup advice

  • Before entering any building, make an assessment of whether there is any structural damage that poses a risk of collapse or falling objects.
  • Take care when entering buildings because there may be physical and chemical hazards or damage to electrical or gas services. Inspect the immediate area thoroughly before attempting to recover items from any damaged buildings or structures.
  • Wear sturdy footwear to protect against any hazards such as broken glass and be careful if you are using unfamiliar machinery.
  • Sturdy protective clothing should be worn such as overalls with long sleeves, gloves and eye protection. Carefully remove clothing after cleaning up and launder separately.
  • If entering a very dusty area, wear a particulate “P2” face-mask, obtainable at hardware stores or safety equipment suppliers, to reduce irritation from breathing in dust.
  • Be particularly careful when handling building waste if you think asbestos or lead-based paint was present in the damaged building.
  • Do not bury asbestos waste or other building waste on your property, or in nearby gullies, etc. It may contaminate the land and cause harm at a later time. See the Asbestos website for information on how to deal with asbestos and other information relating to asbestos. You can contact your local council for information on disposal of hard rubbish.
  • Burning of waste materials should also be avoided particularly as it can produce additional health hazards from the vapours, smoke, and residue, and in many cases outdoor burning is not lawful.
  • When repairing storm damage, take care to minimise dust and take precautions when stripping old paint that may contain lead. See Lead, reducing your risk of exposure page for safe and effective ways to minimise your exposure to lead.

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