Following an earthquake there are a host of safety and environmental concerns that people should be aware of before they return to their properties. Once it is deemed safe to return to a property some people may discover a wide range of indoor environmental hazards. These include the following:
• Inspect utilities - Check for gas leaks. If one can smell gas or hear a hissing noise, open a window and quickly leave the building. Turn off the gas at the outside main valve if it is safe to do so and call the gas company from a safe area away.
Check for sewage and water line damage. If sewage lines are damaged, avoid using the toilets. Sewage may contain a host of microbial pathogens including bacteria, viruses and mold as well as chemical contaminants. It also releases odors that could cause safety issues. If water pipes are damaged they may cause water damage, structural damage and mold growth.
• An earthquake may also release large amounts of dust from both the indoors and outdoors. This dust could contain asbestos and lead. Both asbestos and lead are found in many older properties and they require evaluation before any reconstruction activities take place.
• Cracks created in foundations and basements may also allow for chemicals in the soil and groundwater to begin infiltrating into properties, this is known as vapor intrusion.
• Fire is also a common occurrence due to earthquakes. Apart from direct damage caused by fires, the soot, char and ash from smoke can also cause indoor environmental concerns.
Sussex Environmental Health Consultants (SEHC), a Delaware based environmental consulting firm, recently sponsored an online video to help educate the public about indoor environmental hazards following an earthquake. It can be seen at:
To learn more about indoor air quality (IAQ), environmental, or health and safety services, please visit http://www.sussexenvironmental.com, email susan.white@
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About Sussex Environmental Health Consultants, LLC
SEHC is a certified woman owned business that provides environmental and health and safety consulting services. The company is located in the Mid-Atlantic and services customers nationwide. SEHC provides solutions to clients ranging from homeowners to Fortune 500 Corporations.