A plan should be laid out before beginning the removal of tear gas residue. Mistakes in cleaning can cause the tear gas residue to spread which is why it’s important. With the proper equipment, protection and solutions, it is possible to clean up the residue from tear gas. Below are the steps to ensure proper tear gas removal.
1. What Type of Tear Gas Was Used?
Most common tear gasses used today are safe to clean up with the same conventional methods. If an older tear gas compound was used, some methods of cleanup that use heat can be dangerous. Contact your local law enforcement office for recommendations on cleanup.
2. Use a HAZMAT Suit
Using a hazardous material (HAZMAT) suit, fitted with an air filtration mask is essential to protecting oneself when cleaning up tear gas. The suit will also cover your skin and eyes to prevent self-contamination. HAZMAT suits are regulated to be a safe form of protection when cleaning up hazardous material such as tear gas.
3. Turn Off the HVAC System
If the HVAC system running while cleaning, the residue can spread through the home and vents. If this happens the contamination will spread and the HVAC system will need to be cleaned which will require professional help. Turning the system off will help contain the tear gas residue to the affected areas.
4. Remove Items from the Affected Area
Setting up an area where the furniture and other items affected can be moved to and cleaned outside should be. Remove and dispose of carpet, and other porous materials. If the dry wall was penetrated that will need to be removed and replaced as well.
DO NOT USE A COMMERCIAL VACUUM. Standard vacuum cleaners allow the microscopic dust particles to flow into the air throw the filter and this will allow the tear gas residue to become airborne. Renting a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) or ultra-low penetration air (ULPA) vacuum is going to be the best option. The filters in these vacuums will keep the dust particles released into the air at a minimum.
6. Spray, Soak and Wipe
Using an alkaline water solution or surfactant hard surface cleaner, spray down all the exposed surfaces. Follow up by wiping down the surfaces with a damp rag or mop. Avoid using brooms and brushes because they will stir up the tear gas residue and make it airborne again. Use this process on the items that were removed from the room as well. If possible, soaking items in the solution and allowing them to air dry will be most affecting in the removal of tear gas residue.
Contacting local the local law enforcement office for tips and tricks on cleaning up and removing tear gas residue is also a smart option when beginning cleanup. It is imperative to follow a safe cleanup procedure when tackling the removal of tear gas residue. Tear gas is a chemical weapon and should be treated as such. Always be sure to stick to a plan and when attempting the job without professional help.