Safely cleaning up debris after Hurricane Ian

JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Today the calm after the storm starts for many neighbors in Jacksonville as they start to clean up left over debris from Hurricane Ian.

Action News Jax spoke with The Florida Poison Control Center about what you need to know when tiding up.

“There’s a lot of hazards as we start to clean up and we don’t want to see a second wave of injuries or deaths,” says Mike McCormick.


Mike McCormick of Florida Poison Control Center says we should all start with cleaning up broken tree limbs.

“Just make sure you keep it in a pile and kind of tight because if another gust of winds comes, I’ve seen where it goes flying again,” says Michael Brunswick.

But we should be aware of different types of displaced snakes that could be hiding under debris.

“We recommend wearing sturdy shoes or boots because of the viper snakes which are the cotton mouth and different types of rattle snakes we have in this area. They can bite right through a tennis shoe,” says Mike McCormick.

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Mike says one of the best things you can do to scare away scary critters like rattle snakes is to use a leaf blower. The sound will drive them away. He also suggests always wearing long pants and gloves when cleaning up debris for snakes but also for bees, wasps and fire ants. Jacksonville resident Michael Brunswick agrees.

“Had some debris come down from the pine trees in the backyard. Just went around with a wheel barrel and picked it up. Had some gloves on and boots. I didn’t want to step on anything or get poked by anything,” says Michael Brunswick.

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If you do end up getting bitten or stung call poison control immediately at 1-800-222-1222. It is also important for those cleaning up after flood damages to remember not mix cleaning products. You could make dangerous gases.

“If you get bleach and ammonia mixed together or you get bleach and more of an acid base mixed together you can make chlorine or chloramine gas and that’s a deadly substance,” says Mike McCormick.

When using cleaning agents make sure to keep them out of children’s reach and to work in a ventilated area.

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