Alberta flood cleanup volunteers told to protect their health
Experts says volunteers need to take precautions, wear masks
Experts in the business of cleaning up sites say some flood volunteers may be putting their own safety at risk.
Many Calgarians rushing to help don't have the proper gear. Volunteer Matt Johnson says he wore gloves, safety goggles and boots to clean up a basement. But, he didn't have a mask.
And that, says Andrew Crook of Clean Air Services, is essential.
"I'd say there is definitely a good chance that there is mould there. So when they're removing that drywall, the mould is going to produce spores," he said.
Crook advised Calgarians helping with flood cleanup to wear coveralls, gloves and eye protection as well as a respirator mask.
Ed Wendlandt, president of Emergency Response Management Consulting, said people should be wearing rubber boots, masks and latex gloves at a minimum.
"Consider any flood water as contaminated water. We don't know what's in it, it hasn't been tested, so assume it's contaminated," said Wendlandt.
Calgary father David Tims said he wishes he and his family had taken precautions before his son developed stomach problems after helping clean up their basement.
"He had some cuts on his hands and that kind of thing, so we don't know whether he picked up some kind of virus or bacterial infection."
Alberta Health Services is advising anyone with a home built before 1990, to get professional help to check for asbestos before taking down any walls.