First Aid Kit
You should always have a standard first aid kit on hand for any cleanup events. For larger cleanups, consider bringing several kits as your group might spread out. Check if anyone in your group has first aid/CPR training or is a medical professional.
Protect your group from hazards by encouraging everyone to use:
- Work gloves
- Work boots with hard soles
- Personal Flotation Device (life-vest), if on a boat
- Insect repellant
- Hand sanitizer
Everyone should bring a bottle of water and some snacks to maintain their energy.
On the Water
If people in your party are boating, follow these ground rules to help the trip go smoothly and safely:
- ALWAYS WEAR YOUR Life Jacket
- Appoint a “Lead” Boat (Front) and “Sweep” Boat (Rear)
- Ask people to stay behind the lead and in front of the sweep. The lead and sweep should be more experienced boaters, and should both be equipped with first-aid kits.
- No diving or jumping into the water, no deliberate boat tipping, etc.
- Stay within sight of each other: If you can’t see the last boat in the group stop until you can.
- Appoint someone to make decisions in case of an emergency, as decisions by consensus don’t always work in emergency situations.
- Identify and Avoid Hazards: Look out for strainers (trees and debris buildups in the water). Also watch for drops, dams and other more difficult river features. Rivers are dynamic! Features may have changed since you first scouted the river when planning the cleanup.
- Have an Emergency Plan: Prepare a tip sheet with emergency phone numbers and evacuation routes.
- Steer away from fishermen, swimmers and other boaters.
Garbage can be dirty, rusty, slimy, and/or sharp. Be careful when handling trash to avoid cuts and abrasions. Emphasize to everyone: Don’t be afraid to ask for help; don’t try to lift heavy objects alone.
Avoid Hazardous Materials
- If you or another cleanup supervisor has been alerted to any hazardous materials, contact the state’s Department of Environmental Management, Pollution Control or like agency IMMEDIATELY.
- Drums or containers may contain toxic waste.
- Needles and other biohazard waste are dangerous.
- Handle these items with caution: broken glass, aerosol cans, gas cans and other containers with chemical residues or traces of volatile materials.
- Never handle found live ammunition or explosives – immediately alert the authorities if these items are discovered during your cleanup.
- Wear all safety gear if handling hazardous materials such as glass and metal containers.