About the author

Lisa A first hand witness to thousands of homes and businesses damaged or destroyed by disasters, Sean Scott, a second generation building contractor specializing in disaster restoration, became aware that survivors were ill equipped to take the steps to recovery. Unaided, or misguided, disaster survivors struggle to successfully navigate the complex process, and so, The Red Guide to Recovery – Resource Handbook for Disaster Survivors was born. Used by fire departments, relief organizations, government agencies, and communities across the U.S., The Red Guide to Recovery helps countless people prepare for and recover from disaster events.

Category: Recovery Tips

Hazardous Material Concerns After A Disaster

April 15th, 2012

hazardous materialsDuring a disaster, hazardous materials like chlorine bleach, ammonia, detergents, asbestos and lead based paint can become disturbed and cause contamination. If this happens, steps must be taken to contain and abate the affected areas in order to ensure your health and safety, as well as the environment.

Following are a few hot points to focus on should you ever be faced with a natural disaster where hazardous materials may be affected:

  • First, the age of your home is a good indicator of the presence of hazardous building materials. Any home built prior to 1979 may have lead, and/or asbestos materials present. The second course of action is to have an independent, certified asbestos consultant perform tests to identify the presence of hazardous materials. The consultant will take samples of materials such as drywall, plaster, flooring, paint, popcorn ceilings, roofing, siding, and stucco. The samples will be sent to a laboratory to be analyzed and determine if any hazardous levels of asbestos or lead are present.  If you have insurance coverage, the fee for testing can sometimes be billed directly to your insurance carrier.
  • If hazardous materials are discovered and need to be removed, the environmental abatement contractor you select must have proper licensing, insurance, and a DOSH (Division of Occupational Safety and Health) license. These documents certify that the abatement contractor is capable of handling removal, transport and disposal.
  • It can be very helpful to involve a licensed environmental abatement contractor to coordinate the testing and work with your insurance company, as well as answer any environmental concerns from the very beginning.  Once results on the testing have been established, they should be provided to both you and your insurance company.
  • Finally, with test results in hand, an abatement estimate can be prepared that will illustrate the specific costs of the handling and disposal of hazardous materials.

Please check out www.epa.gov for specific regulations in your area.

About the author

Lisa A first hand witness to thousands of homes and businesses damaged or destroyed by disasters, Sean Scott, a second generation building contractor specializing in disaster restoration, became aware that survivors were ill equipped to take the steps to recovery. Unaided, or misguided, disaster survivors struggle to successfully navigate the complex process, and so, The Red Guide to Recovery – Resource Handbook for Disaster Survivors was born. Used by fire departments, relief organizations, government agencies, and communities across the U.S., The Red Guide to Recovery helps countless people prepare for and recover from disaster events.


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