As September comes to a close, so does National Preparedness Month. Throughout September we have discussed the function of the Office of Emergency Response, the importance of hurricane preparedness and the role of responsible parties. We will close out the month of preparedness with a post about common household chemicals, their proper storage and disposal.
Pesticides, insecticides, pool chemicals, solvents, fertilizes, paint, gasoline, used oil, antifreeze, brake fluid, furniture polish, bleach –look around your garage and you probably have some of these things sitting on the floor. If these products spill, even small amounts can cause environmental damage or could pose a threat to human health, as well as pets. In North Florida, the drinking water source is only a few hundred feet below ground and in South Florida it is even closer to the surface, which is why it is crucial to avoid chemical releases, particularly into storm drains and pervious surfaces.
The Department encourages you to look around and take inventory of your home and garage. Check under sinks and in storage closets to identify any potentially hazardous materials you have. If you determine you no longer need the product, you should dispose of them properly either following the instructions on the chemical or locating a nearby household hazardous waste disposal center. Many counties have household hazardous waste collection events throughout the year and the Department often advertises these collection opportunities through our Twitter account @FLDEPNews.
Missed the previous posts? Check them out now! Week 1: Introduction to OER
Week 2: Hurricane Prep
Week 3: Responsible Parties
Remember, always report environmental incidents to the State Warning Point at 1.800.320.0519.
Also, check out FEMA’s website for great preparedness month information and tips.