First, make sure electricity and natural gas or propane tanks are shut down. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that electricity and FLOOD RESPONSE - WATER DAMAGE AND MOLD natural gas or propane tanks be shut down when returning to a flooded home — affected residents should use battery-powered flashlights instead of candles after dark in case a gas leak has occurred. Avoid wading in standing water.


Molds can produce toxins. There is always a little mold everywhere – in the air and on many surfaces. However, when mold spores drop on places where there is excessive moisture, especially from flooding, FLOOD RESPONSE - WATER DAMAGE AND MOLD they will attach themselves to many things and grow. Many building materials such as wallpaper, insulation, drywall, carpet, and fabric (and others) support mold growth.


Mold exposure doesn’t always present health problems indoors. People who have allergies or those whose immune system is compromised are most at risk. Symptoms may be minor irritations such as nasal stuffiness or eye irritation or more severe reactions such as fever, shortness of breath or FLOOD RESPONSE - WATER DAMAGE AND MOLD infections.


Fully disinfecting a home after it is flooded is critical, particularly where small children will eventually crawl on or touch affected surfaces. The CDC recommends that all walls, hard-surfaced floors and household surfaces be cleaned and disinfected with soap, water and FLOOD RESPONSE - WATER DAMAGE AND MOLD bleach (check CDC's Cleaning and Sanitizing with Bleach after the Floodand Get Rid of Mold for specific instructions).

Most household cleaning products will do the job if used correctly. Check the label for directions on which materials it can safely be used on and FLOOD RESPONSE - WATER DAMAGE AND MOLD how much to use. Follow all directions and safety precautions. If possible, ventilate the area while using any cleaning products.

Belongings that cannot be washed in hot water or FLOOD RESPONSE - WATER DAMAGE AND MOLD dry cleaned, such as mattresses or upholstered furniture, should be air-dried in the sun and sprayed with disinfectant. Carpets should be steam-cleaned and residents should wear boots and rubber gloves while cleaning, especially if any kind of sewage backflow occurred during flooding.


No. Not everything is going to be salvageable and capable of reuse. Certain building materials (drywall, paneling, carpet , furniture) damaged by prolonged exposure to moisture may have to be discarded.


Start with one room at a time beginning with a wall at the bottom or FLOOD RESPONSE - WATER DAMAGE AND MOLD wherever the worst damage occurred. The American Red Cross suggests the following two-bucket approach: use one bucket for the cleaning solution and the other for the rinse water. Replace the rinse water frequently.


You may need rubber gloves, cleaning products and disinfectants, buckets, hose, rags, plastic trash bags, brooms, mops or FLOOD RESPONSE - WATER DAMAGE AND MOLD sponges, hair dryers or fans. Use caution when using electrical items in a damp or wet area. What are molds?

Molds are small organisms found almost everywhere both outdoors and indoors. Molds reproduce by tiny, lightweight spores that drift in the air. Mold spores can survive for a long time. Molds can grow indoors on damp surfaces. FLOOD RESPONSE - WATER DAMAGE AND MOLD

Mold growth can be colored orange, white, green, brown or black. How can mold become a problem in my home? Molds grow in damp places. Sources of indoor dampness include: flooding, leaky roofs, sprinkler spray hitting the house, humidifiers, damp basement or crawl spaces, leaky pipes, house plants, steam from showers, saunas or cooking, wet clothes, clothes dryers vented indoors, FLOOD RESPONSE - WATER DAMAGE AND MOLD and appliances (like stoves) not exhausted outdoors.

How do you know if you have a mold problem? If you can see mold or FLOOD RESPONSE - WATER DAMAGE AND MOLD smell an earthy, musty odor, you probably have a mold problem. What are the potential health effects of indoor mold growth? High levels of exposure to some molds may cause illness in susceptible people.

Typical symptoms include nasal and sinus congestion, eye irritation, dry or FLOOD RESPONSE - WATER DAMAGE AND MOLD hacking cough, nose or throat irritation, and skin rashes or irritation. A physician should be contacted if you have questions regarding symptoms associated with mold exposure.

Should I test my home for mold? Testing is not recommended as a first step to determine if you have a mold problem. If visible mold is present, sampling is not usually necessary. Proper sampling for mold is expensive and FLOOD RESPONSE - WATER DAMAGE AND MOLD requires special equipment.

In addition, federal standards for judging acceptable or tolerable quantities of mold have not been established. Since the Department of Health does not provide mold sampling services, FLOOD RESPONSE - WATER DAMAGE AND MOLD residents must hire an environmental contractor to do the sampling.

Mold inspection and cleanup is the duty of the homeowner. What should I do if I find mold in my home? If mold is growing in your home, you should clean it up and fix the moisture problem. If you clean up the mold, FLOOD RESPONSE - WATER DAMAGE AND MOLD but do not fix the moisture problem, the mold will usually return.

Normally, mold can be removed by cleaning with bleach and water (see the EPA's "A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home”). Large amounts of mold may require the expertise of a professional contractor. How do I prevent indoor mold problems in my home? FLOOD RESPONSE - WATER DAMAGE AND MOLD

Fix plumbing leaks and other water problems as soon as possible. Dry all items completely. Scrub mold off surfaces with detergent and dry completely. Throw out moldy carpets and moldy ceiling tiles. Clean and repair roof gutters regularly. Keep air conditioner drip pans and FLOOD RESPONSE - WATER DAMAGE AND MOLD drain lines clean and unobstructed.

Keep indoor humidity low (below 60%) Vent appliances that produce moisture. (i.e. clothes dryers, stoves) Use air conditioners and/or de-humidifiers when necessary. Run bathroom fan or open window when showering, cooking, washing dishes or FLOOD RESPONSE - WATER DAMAGE AND MOLD running the dishwasher.

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