Encountering a biohazard emergency of any sort can be intimidating, particularly if you’re not familiar with the processes and tools used to clean up bodily fluids or other possibly pathogenic contaminants. Fortunately, you can minimize your chances of contracting a disease or illness during a biohazard emergency by being prepared, reacting calmly, and taking certain steps. Here’s a quick guide that will help you safely deal with biohazard emergencies:
Have a Biohazard Emergency Kit Ready
If you really want to be prepared to deal with any kind of biohazard cleanup, you should go ahead and make a kit that will help you safely take care of potentially hazardous mishaps. These kits come with solidifying powders that soak up and neutralize the odors, toxins, and pathogens found in bodily fluids and other bio-hazardous materials. They also contain the gloves, goggles, masks, wipes, and other components you’ll need to absorb, sterilize, and dispose of biohazardous messes. As with every other type of emergency, preparation will always be more helpful than trying to respond without a plan or the suitable resources.
Turn Off the HVAC System
As hazardous fluid dries, it begins to evaporate, creating the potential for airborne pathogens. Stop all room-to-room air circulation in the building by closing the vents or turning off the HVAC system. Open all the windows in the affected area to allow for natural ventilation, and close off any doors or entrances to other areas of the building to prevent the drifting of biohazardous air. If you leave the HVAC system on, particularly after a large incident like a sewage leak, you’ll be spreading germs and toxic fumes, which would make the cleanup project a building-wide issue. As a good rule of thumb, it’s wise to run an air purifier in the same room that the biohazard was spilled as this will help to capture any pathogens that were made airborne at the time of the incident.
Pay Attention to Wet Surfaces
Whenever you’re cleaning up or operating around a biohazard, try to look for any wet spots or traces of contaminants as you work. This is a particularly helpful tip for cleaning up after safely maneuvering around bodily fluid or sewage spills. Never use your vacuum to pull up hazardous fluids as that can cause pathogens to become airborne. Likewise, don’t use any of your own belongings such as clothing or towels to clean up the mess unless you’re prepared to throw those items away.
Call for Professional Help if Necessary
In closing, it’s never a good idea to clean up a mess that is beyond your skills and abilities. For example, it wouldn’t be wise to take a DIY approach to cleaning up a massive sewage leak using a shop vac and some elbow grease. You might be tempted to go it alone to save the money, but at a bare minimum, you should consult with a professional before proceeding with the cleanup process as you need to be informed before you put your safety at risk.