Note for Cleaning Volunteers

Respiratory Protection Options

  • For most flood clean-up work, use a half-face negative-air respirator with HEPA filters. These respirators have canisters on the sides of your mouth to filter out dust and mold. HEPA filters are magenta coloured.

  • Use paper or cloth respirators labeled N95 or N100 if you plan to be in the home for short periods of time (less than 15 minutes) and will not disturb much mold. The best N95/N100 dust filters have a valve in the middle and two straps to hold the mask securely on the head.

  • If you plan to work in many houses with high mold and dust levels, you may want to buy a powered air purifying respirator (PAPR) that has a fan that blows filtered air into the hood. These are especially helpful if you have a beard and cannot get a tight fit from other respirators or masks. PAPR’s provide the highest level of protection, but are expensive. However substitutes are available in Indian market and online ([]=Dusk%20Mask ).

  • Follow the instructions supplied with the respirator or mask carefully. Respirators and masks must t right to work correctly. Contractors must follow the rules for an OSHA respirator programme.


  • Wear goggles, safety glasses with side shields or full-face shield. Sun/glare-protective lenses may be needed in some work settings.

  • Wear a cap with a brim to prevent dust from falling behind the glasses.

  • Always keep a bottle of eyewash solution (available at drugstores) on the job in case you get something in your eye.


  • Use earplugs/earmu s in high noise work areas where chainsaws or heavy equipment are used. At most clean-up sites, the earplugs are not needed.


  • Wear work boots with steel shank, toe and insole.

  • DO NOT wear tennis shoes or sneakers because they will not prevent punctures, bites or crush injuries.

  • Wear overalls with a hood, a soft hat with a brim or other protective head cover.

  • Wear an American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-rated hardhat if there is any danger of falling debris or electrical hazards.


  • Use heavy, waterproof, cut-resistant gloves.

  • Also always wash your hands and face before eating, drinking, smoking or putting on sun screen or lip protection to limit how much mold and dust gets into your body.

Source: Shared by Manoj Nair

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