Previously, we brought you tips on how to avoid danger in the event that a flood affects your community. However, hazards associated with drowning aren’t the only threat that can compromise safety during flood conditions. Danger can present itself long after the floodwaters have receded. Most typically, that danger takes the form of mold. The city of New Orleans is offering persons affected by Hurricane Isaac advice on how to combat mold, but the tips can be utilized by anyone who thinks their residence might be at risk.
Before any cleanup can be done, the flooded area needs to first be cleared of water. If you don’t dry your residence out before setting out to counteract mold, it becomes impossible to do a respectable job. It might take weeks for an area to be completely dry, but once that happens, it’s essential to get started right away once.
Once your home is dry, it’s critical to note what can stay and what can go. Padding and wet carpet should be tossed out en masse, as should sheetrock and other porous material such as mattresses, wallpaper, fiberglass installation and more. When determining what wallboard needs to be tossed out, figure out where the water line reached, and then measure one foot up. Anything below should go. You should also understand the process of wicking, which can lead water to travel upwards higher than you might otherwise expect.
With materials likely to be infested with mold removed from your abode, it’s time to start the cleaning process. Wall studs should be allowed to dry and then thoroughly cleaned, as should all other solid surfaces, such as concrete floors and walls, glass, countertops, and anything else not porous enough to suck in water. Soap and water should be used to scrub down these surfaces, followed by utilization of a water/bleach solution.
When cleaning, it’s important to follow safety procedures. First, anyone with a respiratory condition such as asthma should not be doing the cleaning, nor should anyone who thinks they’re allergic to mold. Whoever does clean needs to use eye protection, gloves, and possibly even a dust mask. The area receiving the once-over also needs to be well-ventilated so as to not encourage mold to fester.
Finally, a person needs to know when to throw in the towel. Sometimes, the mold might be so extensive as to require a professional clean-up crew to take care of the damage. Plus, if you begin to experience symptoms consistent with mold spore inhalation (headaches, rashes, trouble breathing), don’t hesitate to consult with a medical professional.
For more information, click the link above or visit the CDC’s website.