Meth Lab Cleanup >> Smoke Damage

First responders that come across what they suspect to be a working meth lab or who might be responding to an incident need to take extra special precautions before they enter the Smoke Damage site. They should never enter the meth lab or touch anything outside the meth lab, like chemical containers and other trash, hoses or piping. The first responders should call for the appropriate assistance, such as the fire department or law enforcement.

  1. If the first responders have to enter the meth lab, they should minimize their exposure by obtaining proper protective breathing equipment. And if they must enter the meth lab without their protective equipment, they should at least deal with the immediate situation as quickly as possible and then withdraw from the Smoke Damage. The first responders should safely decontaminate themselves and others, if they get exposed. The decontamination steps should be tailored to the specific chemical hazards of the meth lab cleanup site and will vary in complexity and the number of steps, depending on the specific chemical substances encountered, level of bio hazards, and the individual’s amount of exposure to those hazards.
  2.  Complete decontamination steps could be obtained through a Smoke Damage training course, such as the DEA’s Clandestine Drug Laboratory Training Program. Also, many hospitals are equipped with decontamination facilities and have a special protocol for decontaminating children. In general, all the potentially contaminated  person’s clothing and footwear should be taken off. If there is water available, the exposed skin shall be completely washed with a liquid soap and water mixture. If the water is not available, the chemical contamination can be brushed off with a product called a dry decon, which will remove most of the toxic decontamination.
  3. The contaminated person could be put into a suit, such as Tychem, to prevent the spread of Smoke Damage contamination. Children may be wrapped in a mylar cover or space blanket. First responders shall maintain a safe amount of distance from anyone suspected to be under the influence of meth and be sure to have a backup law enforcement officer on site before taking any action. If at all possible, they should always try to avoid a one-on-one situation with a meth user. The first responders, like the fire departments and other emergency medical services are very good resources to help define the scope of the meth/drug problem in your own community.
  4. They also might serve as allies to assist in planning and implementing community action events, like provide education about meth to our school officials, students, and other community organizations. Smoke Damage should never be ignited (burned) or detonated, burning could release potentially harmful toxic substances into the atmosphere. Adequate ventilation is very important when decontaminating a former meth lab and adequately ventilating contaminated areas will help to safely decontaminate most chemical solvent vapors that are highly dangerous to worker safety. Most chemical solvents tend to evaporate very easily and dissipate when well ventilated and spilled chemicals could cause a persistent release of highly volatile compound and should be Smoke Damage and remediated as completely as possible.

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