When the flood waters subside after a hurricane, carefully evaluate the pesticide storage area.

If this area was under water, damaged containers and spilled product could result in a potentially hazardous situation. Deal with it the same way as any spill.

Your personal safety and that of anyone helping you should be the first consideration. Of course, appropriate personal safety equipment should be used, such as heavy-duty rubber gloves, rubber boots, a chemical- resistant apron, and eye protection.

A respirator may be necessary for some chemicals. If you know the product or products damaged, use the personal protection as required on those labels.

When in doubt, use the personal protection equipment suggested. Then follow these standard guidelines for handling spills:

1. Control the spill: Stop the spill as quickly as possible by restoring the container to its upright position, closing a leaking valve or hose, or putting a secondary container in place to catch the leaking solution.

Bags that are broken or soaked through need to be carefully placed in a secondary container, such as a drum or heavy plastic bags.

2. Call your retailer: Get advice quickly from your agricultural chemical retailer or manufacturer on cleanup of specific chemicals.

They also can provide you with special safety advice and other information.

3. Contain the spread: When the leak has been stopped, contain the spread of the spill by creating dams of absorbent material in the path of the spilled liquid. It may be most important to first divert a spill away from a nearby pond, stream, or storm sewer before attempting to stop the spill or leak.

This is a judgement call that only you can make.