Fire, water, dust and mould can all badly damage collection materials. While a damaged item may never look new again, it is possible to preserve what remains.
Here are a few things to consider:
- Attend to damaged material as quickly as possible, but never try to save possessions at the expense of your own or others' safety - evacuate as necessary and wait until danger zones have been cleared by emergency personnel
- Health and safety hazards remain present after a disaster has ended - flood waters can contain waste matter and disease, burned structures may contain asbestos and chemical residues, and mould may be growing in areas that were recently wet
- Wear protective clothing, gloves, eye protection and masks to minimise risks to your health and safety when salvaging damaged material
- Minimise handling of damaged materials to prevent rubbing dirt further into fragile surfaces
- Support weakened items in plastic containers or cardboard boxes
- Keep dirty items separate from other materials, as soot, dirt and mould can easily be transferred to uncontaminated material
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