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Safe cleanup of storm damaged materials that may contain asbestos

It is essential to protect yourself and others when removing debris, particularly when asbestos is concerned. The following procedure will help you to safely cleanup after a storm.


The equipment used will be influenced by what is readily available following a storm event.

  • plastic sheeting, tarpaulins (new tarp is preferable) or old bed sheeting, curtains
  • plastic bags (thick 200 ┬Ám plastic is preferable) or plastic shopping bags or garbage bags that can be securely tied
  • duct tape or gaffer tape
  • bucket for water
  • rags or chuck wipes
  • garden hose
  • shovel or garden spade
  • PVA glue or acrylic paint
  • paint brushes
  • timber dunnage (to support the asbestos debris package off the ground)
  • personal protective equipment:
    • disposable P2 respirator
    • disposable overalls (eg. European standards type 5 and type 6) or old clothing (e.g. long sleeve shirts) that can be thrown away afterwards
    • gum boots or laceless boots.

Always wear personal protective equipment when cleaning up debris that may contain asbestos.

Potential hazards

Protect yourselves from other potential dangers after a storm, such as fallen power lines and control the risk of falling from heights if on a roof.

  • Check the site for hazards from debris such as sharp edges or protruding nails.
  • If electrical lines are down - do not enter the area, ensure electricity supply has been turned off by a licensed electrical contractor or energy supplier.

Before picking up any asbestos containing material (ACM) debris, access to the area should be restricted by closing gates or doors and erecting signage or tape.

Temporarily wet, seal, or cover debris

If there is insufficient time to clean up the area immediately, several tasks should be completed as soon as possible.

  1. Keep ACM debris wet by lightly hosing with water or spraying with a mixture of 5 parts water and 1 part PVA glue.
  2. For building materials still in their original position, seal any small fractured or exposed edges with paint or PVA glue.
  3. Temporarily cover debris with a tarp or sheet, or similar. Keep the cover moist and pegged to the ground or weighed down.

Storm and wind damage cleanup

Remove hand jewellery such as watches and rings.