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Urban Flooding and the Health Risks to Recovery Workers

National Clearinghouse for Worker Safety and Health Training

November 14, 2022

The NIEHS National Clearinghouse for Worker Safety and Health Training explored the unique features of the urban environment and its potential to impact the health of workers, including residents, performing recovery activities following urban flooding.



Nick Cagliuso, Ph.D., an emergency management leader, and scholar of more than 30 years, is Senior Advisor for Emergency Management at MDB, Inc. As a member of MDB’s senior leadership group, Cagliuso provides expert insights and collaborative solutions to select healthcare, public health and emergency management clients to identify and solve their most pressing challenges. Based in Washington, D.C, and fueled by his beginnings as an Emergency Medical Technician in Brooklyn, NY, Cagliuso has led efforts in the New York City Fire Department, City of New York’s Emergency Medical Service, The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, New York-Presbyterian Healthcare System and Continuum Health Partners.

David Chawaga an industrial hygienist (IH) for 27 years, began his career working in the chemical industry serving as a plant IH. Chawaga later became a safety and health contractor for a variety of organizations including industry, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Air Force. Chawaga joined FEMA during Hurricane Katrina/Rita in 2005 and currently serves as FEMA’s Senior Director for the Environmental Safety and Health Division.

Stephen Grant, Ph.D., is a geneticist and toxicologist and Professor of Public Health at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He has been PI or co-PI of Project SEAMIST, a worker training program focused on maritime safety for the last 10 years. He has spent the last 40 years investigating environmental and occupational causes of cancer, primarily through the development and application of blood-based biomarkers.

Lisa Orloff is a not-for-profit entrepreneur, President of Resiliency Advisors, LLC and founder of World Cares Center, the not for profit, voluntary organization she spearheaded post 9-11-2001. Orloff provides leadership, strategic vision and develops and delivers curricula including a common international response platform, and volunteer management leadership initiatives. Orloff has built partnerships with Offices of Emergency Management, Citizen Corp, CERT, the American Red Cross, Police Departments and the military, including the Department of Defense and UN cluster groups. Orloff is a member of several committees including 100 Resilient Cities, the Rockefeller Foundation, NYC-VOAD, International Association of Emergency Managers, The National Institute for Urban Search and Rescue, NOVA’s National Community Crisis Response Team, and the Department of Public Information of the UN. As a subject matter expert for SAMHSA, Orloff contributes to a broader approach to inclusive disaster risk reduction and response on the development of the Disaster Supervisor and Worker Resiliency Training.

Kevin Yeskey, M.D.,Kevin Yeskey, M.D., serves as the Senior Advisor for Emergency Public Health at MDB, Inc. At MDB, Yeskey was the lead director of the Gulf Responder Resilience Training Project (GRRTP), the Ebola Training Project, and co-creator of the NIEHS Disaster Research Response program. Yeskey was a member of the Senior Executive Service while serving in his role as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) at HHS and served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for ASPR, where he coordinated the interagency public health and medical response and recovery efforts under the National Response Framework and the National Disaster Recovery Framework. Yeskey was directly responsible for the ASPR Division of Training, Evaluations, and Lessons Learned and directed the corrective action process for that Division which conducted high level federal exercises such as Crimson Contagion..

For More Information

Urban Flooding and Worker Health Effects(217KB)
This report details the unique features of floods in the urban environment and the potential health effects for workers, homeowners, and others who perform cleanup and recovery activities.

Urban Flooding Fact Sheet(432KB)

This fact sheet describes the wide variety of hazards that workers and homeowners should be aware of during or after an urban flood. It also provides tips to help workers and homeowners avoid and prevent exposure to structural hazards, infectious agents, and toxic chemicals.

Inundaciones Urbanas: Peligros y consejos de prevención(395KB)

Este folleto describe la amplia variedad de peligros que los trabajadores y dueños de casa deben tener en cuenta durante o después de una inundación urbana. También proporciona consejos para ayudar a los trabajadores y dueños de casa a evitar y prevenir la exposición a peligros estructurales, agentes infecciosos y químicos tóxicos.

For other related resources, visit the Hurricanes and Floods webpage.

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