Whether you live in the city or way out in the country, we all need to be aware of our surroundings and understand any dangers that may be present. Environmental hazards can appear for a variety of reasons. These hazards can be both inside and outside of your home. It can be a good idea to survey your home and your community to take an inventory of potential environmental hazards and develop a plan to protect you an your family from them. This plan may include ways to reduce every day exposure from common environmental hazards as well as appropriate emergency plans to protect yourself during a disaster or emergency situation. Every time something is changed in your environment you should assess this change for dangers in order to reduce any potential impacts to your families health and quality of life.
To assist you in identifying any environmental hazards around you, read through the following questions and make a list of your answers. The information contained throughout this guidebook should help you to address many of these concerns and any new concerns as they develop.
- Am I or anyone in my household sensitive to environmental hazards (children, elderly, pulmonary or cardiovascular illness)?
- Are all hazardous materials (cleaning agents, chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, automotive fluids, fuels, paints and aerosols) stored in a secure place away from children and out of danger of flooding?
- How do I get my household water?
- Is my well and all necessary pipes and fixtures properly maintained and free of contaminants?
- Have I tested my water recently?
- Is my air conditioning system regularly maintained with clean ducts and filters?
- Is my home appropriately insulated and properly weatherized?
- Is my home prepared for severe weather, hurricanes and flooding?
- Is there any mold present in my home from moisture or past flooding?
- Am I familiar with all the products that nearby facilities handle, produce and emit into my community?
- Is my home located near a facility that emits pollutants into the air or water?
- Do I notice unusual odors in my neighborhood?
- Do I experience health symptoms (burning eyes, scratchy throat, etc) when I am outside in my community?
- Do I see unusual discoloration, oily sheens, foaming, or impacted wildlife in my local waterways?
- Is my home located near a facility that handles waste (landfill, injection well)?
- Is my home near a rail line, commercial truck route or pipeline? Do I know what, if any, hazardous materials travel near my home?
- Do I know what to do in case of an industrial accident (fire, explosion, chemical release) in my community?
- Does my family have an appropriate emergency plan? Evacuation route?
- Do I know who to call if I need help with my environmental concerns?
The Louisiana Citizens’ Guide To Environmental Engagement