Keep ash out of buildings, machinery, vehicles, downspouts, water supplies, and wastewater systems (for example, storm drains) as much as possible. The most effective method to prevent ash-induced damage to machinery is to shut down, close off and seal equipment until ash is removed from the immediate environment, though this may not be practical in all cases. Coordinate cleanup activities with your neighbors and community-wide operations. After an ashfall, remove ash from roofs in a timely manner to prevent streets from being repetitively cleaned.

Things TO DO

  • Put on a recommended mask before starting to clean. If you don't have one, use a wet cloth. Wearing protective eye wear (such as goggles) during clean-up is also advised in dry conditions.
  • Moisten the ash with a sprinkler, before attempting to clean. This will help to stop the wind remobilizing it.
  • Use shovels for removing the bulk of thick deposits of ash (over 10 mm or so (1/2 in)), stiff brooms will be required to remove lesser amounts.
  • Place the ash into heavy duty plastic bags, or onto trucks if available.
  • Since most roofs cannot support more than four inches (10 cm) of wet ash, keep roofs free of thick accumulation.
  • Volcanic ash is slippery. Use caution when climbing on ladders and roofs.
  • Guttering systems clog very easily so, if fitted underneath your roof, sweep away from the gutters.
  • Cut grass and hedges only after rain or light sprinkling and bag clippings.
  • Seek advice from public officials regarding disposal of volcanic ash in your community. In most cases, ash should be separated from normal rubbish for collection for disposal at a designated location. Mixing ash with normal rubbish can result in damage to collection vehicles and take up space in landfills.
  • Dampen ash in yards and streets to reduce suspension of ash, however try to use water sparingly - do not soak the ash. Widespread use of water for clean-up may deplete public water supplies. Follow requests from public officials regarding water use during cleanup operations.
  • Remove outdoor clothing before entering a building.

Things NOT to do

  • Do not soak the ash as it will cake into a hard mass, making cleanup more difficult. On roofs the added weight of the water will increase the risk of roof collapse.
  • Do not dump the ash in gardens or on the roadside.
  • Do not wash the ash into the guttering, sewers or storm drains. (It can damage waste water treatment systems and clog pipes).
  • Do not drive unless absolutely necessary, driving stirs up the ash.
  • Furthermore, ash is harmful to vehicles.