hurricaneKeeping workers safe means dealing with work-related hazards and much. The natural disasters that wreak havoc on homes – as we see so often in media reports – also affect businesses, and the people in them.

Fortunately, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a wealth of resources to help EHS practitioners cope with natural disasters.

The EHS approach can start with preparedness, but it shouldn’t stop there. Long after the immediate danger is over, the repercussions of a disaster can continue to threaten the health and safety of people in affected areas.

The flooding that is often caused by hurricanes, for instance, can lead to microbial contamination. Damaged buildings in the process of being cleaned up and restored can harbor dangers that can injure to the workers doing the cleaning up.

Disasters aren’t always natural, either. The destruction of property and human life can also be the result of terrorism – something reflected in the CDC’s: Emergency and Terrorism Preparedness for Environmental Health Practitioners.

Focus on floods

This resource provides general information on flood issues including cleanup as well as food, water and shelter protection

Building Environment

Food Protection

Water Security


Emergency response and mold

For specific information about emergency response, there’s:

Environmental Health Training in Emergency Response (EHTER) – EHTER prepares environmental health workers for emergency response

Guidance on Microbial Contamination in Previously Flooded Outdoor Areas – guidance to help health authorities assess the level of risk posed by microbial contamination after a flood event

Hurricanes and tornadoes

For weather-related events, see:

Emergency Preparedness and Response Natural Disasters & Severe Weather website – information on floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and other disaster information

Hurricanes – information on hurricanes including cyclones, typhoons and other tropical storms

Public Health Emergency Response Guide for State, Local, and Tribal Public Health Directors - Version 2.0 – guidance and information that will assist during the response to an emergency or disaster

Staying Safe in a Tornado – CDC feature with tips on how to prepare and shelter in case of a tornado

Tornadoes: Being Prepared – describes how to prepare before, during and after tornado disasters

Water-Related Emergencies and Outbreaks – information on flood water exposure and buildings and facilities damaged by flood water

Click here to visit the CDC web page on natural disaster information for EHS practitioners.