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What to Do After the Flood

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

By Jason Earle Google+

It’s critically important after a flood to waste no time getting things as dry as possible and getting rid of things that have soaked up water. The idea is to head off the emergence of a major mold growth.

In last summer’s edition of our seasonal magazine, Habitat Quarterly, we published an article detailing what to do after a flood. It seems now would be a good time to revisit that piece and perhaps give a few folks on the east coast a chance to absorb something other than water. Here’s a snippet:

When floods hit cities and commercial buildings whose owners have healthy bank accounts and adequate insurance, it’s almost entertaining to see the action after the water recedes. Machinery and crews of workers hit the scene immediately, tearing out soggy materials, scooping out mud, drying out structures with huge fans. In the vast majority of cases, these buildings end up being restored to as-new or better condition. Ensuing mold problems are rare.

In surrounding residential neighborhoods, often at lower elevations and especially those not so well heeled, the cleanup process is much slower, and mold problems become increasingly likely. The most extreme example, of course, is New Orleans after the levees broke during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Many homes there are still not restored, and many never will be. Mold is as common in New Orleans as sourdough bread in San Francisco.

Mold does not give you much time to react after a flood – even a small one. You have 24 hours to get wet things out of the house and dry out the remaining structure, or it’s a virtual certainty you will have a bumper crop of mold. Mold has been tied to various health conditions such as asthma, chronic sinusitis, allergies, bronchitis and even depression.

Whether your flood is caused by nature, a plumbing failure, a sewage leak or a roof defect`, the first priority is safety, and the second priority is getting the water out. The New York State Health Department has compiled a comprehensive list of tasks and precautions, which we offer in its entirety (with our notes – italicized) here.

If this information is useful to you, you can read it in the online version that we reposted it on 1800gotmold.com. Either way, we hope it helps.

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