Protecting Against Ash

Limit driving

Driving conditions may be poor following ashfall, with poor visibility and loss of traction due to a slippery road surface commonly reported. Avoid non-essential travel. If you must drive, drive slowly and maintain a large distance from the vehicle in front of you.

See also: transportation > Roads & Highways

Limit ash ingress into buildings

Keep doors and windows closed, tape draughty windows and place damp towels at door thresholds.

See also: Buildings > Keeping Ash Out

Reduce personal exposure

Avoid unnecessary exposure to ash and remain indoors in ashy conditions. This is particularly the case for children, the elderly and people with existing respiratory problems. It is also advisable to avoid undue exertion when ash is in the air, since this leads to heavier breathing and draws small particles more deeply into the lungs.

Personal protective equipment

Those undertaking clean-up operations should always wear effective dust masks (recommendations available).

If no approved mask is available, a fabric mask improvised from cloth will filter out the larger ash particles which may contribute to throat and eye irritation. Dampening the fabric with water will improve its effectiveness.

We also advise wearing goggles to protect eyes, and long-sleeved shirts and pants to protect skin.

See also: Cleanup & Disposal > Personal Protection PPE

Advice for children

Children should be advised against strenuous play or running when ash is in the air, since exertion leads to heavier breathing, drawing small particles more deeply into the lungs. Take particular care to prevent children playing in areas where ash is deep on the ground or piled up. In general, it may be preferable to keep children indoors. Posters with health advice written specifically for children and young people are available in both English and Japanese from IVHHN.