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January 2020

Hygiene considerations during natural disasters: Fire

Written by Lemay Rogers
Hygiene Specialists

The fires currently raging in Australia are terrifying and devastating. With 5 million hectares of land burnt (that’s almost twice the size of Belgium), the world stands helplessly by as the only real action one can take is to send aid to Australia.

In general, fire disaster plans focus on getting people and animals to safety as quickly as possible; preferably somewhere there are decontamination facilities and where medical treatment can be administered if needed. The plan would then focus on basic needs including shelter and supplies like food, water, and blankets.

Why are decontamination facilities important?

During a fire, numerous pollutants are formed as a by product of the combustion. These pollutants can be harmful to anyone exposed to the blaze, as well as to the people around the. Pollutants can be spread through cross-contamination and can cause illness or aggravate existing conditions such as asthma.

In order to contain pollutants and minimise the associated risks, it is important for people exposed to fire to bathe and to change their clothing as soon as possible. If you have pets with you, it’s important to do the same for them.

How can you help?

There are various aid organisations collecting funds to bring some relief to the devastation in Australia but if you are in a position to support an affected community locally, I would like to urge you to consider including hygiene-related items on your donation list, including;

These items will assist the emergency response team with their decontamination efforts and provide the local community with additional care during this stressful time.

We continue to keep Australia’s citizens and our Rentokil Initial colleagues in our thoughts during these difficult times.

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Lemay Rogers

Lemay Rogers

Lémay Rogers is the Marketing Manager for Rentokil Initial's Sub-Saharan Africa region. When not contributing to the Initial blog, she is the custodian of all things Marketing for Rentokil Initial Sub-Saharan Africa. As a frequent traveller AND mother of a pre-schooler, she is all too aware of how easily germs can travel with us, from one location to another and then back to our homes. Follow Lémay on Twitter and LinkedIn for practical advice on good hygiene practices, both at home and in the workplace.

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