Ash from the Woolsey and Hill fires can have a far reach, raining down on communities many miles away.
Areas of California have not only been completely devastated by the recent wildfires in Northern California and the Malibu area, but many far away from the flames have been impacted in other ways with power outages or debris from the fires.
The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department sent out tips via social media on Wednesday on how to safely discard of ash and food that may have been impacted.
Wash off the ash
Ash may look like fun snowflakes to children, but make sure they don’t play in it – especially when it’s wet or damp. And make sure any toys they play with are washed.
Don’t forget to also wash your pets that may have gotten ash on their fur.
Always wear gloves during clean up, along with long-sleeved shirts and long pants to avoid skin contact. Wash ash off as soon as possible if it gets on your skin.
If you eat vegetable or fruits from the garden, make sure you wash them before eating.
Don’t spread it around
Don’t use leaf blowers — they will push ash into the air and spread it out.
“Instead, gently sweep indoor and outdoor surfaces, followed by wet mopping,” the post reads. “A solution of bleach and water may be used to disinfect an area.”
Your regular home vacuum won’t cut it, and even shop vacuums can’t filter out small particles. Instead, they blow small particles into the air where they can be breathed in. However, HEPA-filter vacuums can filter out small particles.
Use a disposable mask, an easy item to find at home or hardware stores, when cleaning up. Make sure it has a rating of N-95 or better.
Avoid washing ash into the storm drains whenever possible. Ash and soot can become very slippery when combined with water.
“Walk carefully, wear boots with good soles, and use as little water as possible when cleaning an area of ash,” the post reads.
Throw it out
If ash has gotten onto plastic bottles, toss them.
“It is not enough to rinse off the bottles as these particles contaminate the caps, making them very difficult to decontaminate,” the advisory reads
Food that has not been stored in waterproof or airtight containers and has been covered with ash should be discarded. This includes products that have been stored in cardboard or other soft packaging, according to the sheriff’s department.
Food stored in sealed, previously unopened glass or metal cans or jars, such as baby food, should be safe for use, but the containers should be cleaned before they are opened and contents transferred to another container before being eaten.
If a power outage has impacted your area for a short time, your food should be safe. But if your power has been out for several hours, it’s best to throw away perishable foods such as meat, dairy products and eggs.
Items that have thawed in the freezer should be thrown away — do not re-freeze thawed food.
“Remember, if in doubt, throw it out.”
Original Article Source:https://www.dailynews.com/2018/11/14/need-to-clean-up-ash-from-the-woolsey-fire-follow-these-guidelines-for-safety/