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Safety Measures Are Key During Debris Removal and Cleanup

Now that Hurricane Sandy has passed, many municipalities and individuals are faced with removing debris from the storm. The Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency (RIEMA) reminds Rhode Islanders of the following safety measures to keep in mind when undertaking post-storm cleanup efforts:

  • Wear sturdy work boots with sole protection against injuries from nails and glass.
  • Wear long pants to protect yourself from cuts, scrapes, and animal bites.
  • Wear leather work gloves to minimize injuries from shattered glass or sharp edges.
  • Use an N-95 face mask to protect your lungs from fiberglass and other airborne debris. (Masks can be purchased at home supply stores.)
  • Wear safety goggles to prevent eye injuries.
  • Wear a hard hat to guard against head injuries from falling objects.
  • Make sure you are up to date on your tetanus vaccination.
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
Downed Power Lines

  • Assume that any downed power line is live.
  • Do not touch it or attempt to move it. Downed power lines can sometimes still be energized from the feedback from electrical energy or from a secondary power source, such as a portable generator.
Chain Saw Safety

Do not attempt to use a chain saw if you have not had training or experience with using one. Wear personal protective equipment such as goggles, hard hats, and chainsaw chaps. Do not wear loose-fitting clothing. Clear away dirt, debris, small tree limbs and rocks from the saw's chain path. Check for nails, spikes or other metal in the tree before cutting.

  • Keep your hands on the saw's handles, and maintain secure footing while operating the saw.
  • Maintain awareness of the surroundings. Be careful that the trunk or the tree limbs will not bind against the saw. Branches under tension could spring loose when cut.
  • Gasoline-powered chain saws must be equipped with a protective device that minimizes chain saw kickback. To avoid kickback, do not saw with the tip, and keep tip guard in place.
  • Shut off the saw or engage its chain brake when carrying the saw on rough or uneven terrain.

For regularly updated information on Hurricane Sandy response efforts, visit or call 211.

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