Police are urging residents and business owners of the areas affected by storms in the Kurnell area not to touch or sift through damaged houses or debris that may contain asbestos.
Assistant Commissioner Michael Fuller, Central Metropolitan Region Emergency Operation Controller, said it is important that local residents are aware of the risks.
“An Impact Assessment Team will continue to assess the damage today,” Assistant Commissioner Fuller said.
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“We have experts that will examine the area to identify debris that may contain asbestos and coordinate its removal.
“We have also commenced air quality testing as an additional measure to ensure the highest level of public safety.
“There will be a Community Information Meeting at 12 midday today at the Marton Community Hall at Captain Cook Drive near Silver Beach Road.
“If your home or your neighbour’s home was constructed before 1987 then it can potentially have asbestos-containing materials like fibro.
“If you are attending the area where homes or buildings have been damaged or destroyed by recent storms you need to consider the potential of asbestos and other dangerous materials being present.
“People should take general safety precautions. We have been advised the risk is low if debris is not disturbed.
“However, it is recommended that should you be returning to your home and it has been damaged, do not disturb the debris.
“If you intend on entering, I would recommend wearing a P2 mask and protective clothing as a precaution.”
It is recommended residents take the following precautionary measures:
* Check with the local emergency services that it is safe to re-enter your property;
* Properties with asbestos debris should be assessed by a licensed Asbestos Assessor or an Occupational Hygienist prior to re-entry;
* Avoid unnecessary entry and in particular entry by children;
* A type ‘P2’ dust mask and disposable coveralls should be worn in areas where asbestos debris may be disturbed;
* Asbestos debris should be kept damp to suppress release of fibres until it is safely removed.
A storm damaged asbestos building does not generate significant levels of asbestos fibres in the air unless it is disturbed. It is generally low risk to walk around or nearby damaged asbestos buildings. Risks can increase when the material is disturbed.
Further information on the potential health impacts of asbestos can be found atwww.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/factsheets/Pages/asbestos-and-health-risks.aspx