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Mold Prevention Steps if Your Home or Building Has Been
Damaged by a Hurricane, Typhoon, Tornado, Windstorm, Flooding, Earthquake, Tsunami, Fire, or other natural disaster.
 
Also read:

[ Additional Hurricane-Typhoon-Tornado Mold News Articles ] [ Natural Disaster Recovery: Fungi & Flood (Fact Sheet from OSHA)] [Hurricane-Typhoon-Tornado-News]

If your home, condominium, apartment, office, or other building has suffered serious roof, wall, structural, flooding, or other water damage because of a hurricane, typhoon, tornado, windstorm, flooding, earthquake, Tsunami, fire, or other natural disaster, you would be wise to take the following preventive steps to reduce the resulting mold infestation that will surely grow from the damage your home or building has suffered.

Mold spores can damage building structures and pose  health problems for many people. For example as to the 2004 Florida hurricanes, FEMA spokesman Cleo Howell said that Florida's high heat and humidity are perfect environments for mold growth, which can begin as early as a day or two after water gets in a house.

1. Prior to any repairs, photograph from every appropriate angle all damage that has been happened to your home or other building. You may need this photographic evidence to help collect for the water, structural, and mold damage.

2.
Use do-it-yourself mold test kits [available from your local large hardware, home improvement, or safety store], or the Scotch tape lift sampling technique to test any visible mold growth so that you can send the mold test kits to a mold laboratory for analysis and mold species identification.  Also, use mold test kits to mold test the air of each room, attic, basement, crawl space, and the outward air flow [if electricity is on] from each heating/cooling duct register for the possible presence of elevated levels of airborne mold spores, in comparison to an outdoor mold control test.  You should repeat this testing of the air every 7 days so that you can determine if the mold situation is under control or out of control. You should also be photographing and testing any new mold growths.

3. Read your insurance policy very carefully to see in what ways the insurance company could try to restrict or reject your insurance claim for mold growth damage and for the expenses of mold inspection, testing, and remediation. If you don’t understand the policy, have it explained to you by your agent, the insurance company claims adjuster, an independent insurance adjuster [who works solely on your behalf against the insurance company on a commission basis], or your attorney. You may need to have the home or building inspected and tested [with a written report of the inspector’s findings] by a
Certified Mold Inspector. The goal of the Certified Mold Inspector is to document that there is new mold growth that was directly caused by the sudden and accidental, insured event such as a hurricane, typhoon, tornado, windstorm, fire, or water line break. If you believe your insurance policy should cover the water and mold damage, but the company refuses to pay, you definitely need to have professional representation by an independent insurance adjuster or an insurance-oriented attorney. You should also read our in depth book mold legal book.
 
4. Cover or close in securely with tarps all broken windows, damaged roof sections, damaged siding sections, and other storm or fire building damage to keep as much rain as possible from entering into your home or building. The more water that enters your home or building, the worse the mold damage your property will suffer.

5.
You can use a low-cost Mold Home Remedy Recipes available at Mold Mart. If there is no electricity, use either a hand pump sprayer [about $40 from Home Depot, Lowe’s, or a hardware store], or a small electric sprayer connected to a small electric generator.  Most fungicides are only rated to treat nonporous surfaces such as a kitchen counter top or ceramic tile.  What mold will grow in is porous wood, other building materials, carpeting, padding, furniture upholstery, clothing, and other cellulose based materials which mold growth is able to feed upon.

6. Learn and utilize the 25 steps required for safe and effective mold remediation, as explained at Mold Remediation

7. When you return to your house after a hurricane, flood, or other natural disaster, and when it is safe to turn the electricity on [no standing water and with the approval of your local electric utility company or city building department], turn on the air conditioning to distribute cool, dry air throughout the house to begin the drying-out. If you don’t yet have electricity, leave the windows closed to keep moist outdoor air from entering into your home or other building.

8. Wet drywall can sometimes be dried, but speed in drying is absolutely essential. If the drywall remains wet for any length of time [especially after 24 hours], mold can start to grow INSIDE the drywall, as well as behind the drywall. Vinyl wall covering should be removed because the vinyl is a moisture barrier preventing the drywall underneath from drying fast. FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] recommends that wet drywall be cut out and discarded immediately because the moisture inside the drywall can wick its way up the drywall above and beyond any original flooding impact.

9. If you are going to cover furniture and household effects with plastic, make sure they are very dry and that the plastic is totally sealed on all sides, including the bottom, to completely encapsulate the furniture from high humidity in the air that is the result of hurricanes, flooding, etc.. When you put plastic over an item that is not totally dry, or that has access to high humidity, you have made the plastic coverings act like greenhouses where mold will grow abundantly.

10.  FEMA recommends that flood or water damage victims first get everything that is wet out of the house ... if you can clean it, like clothes — wash and dry it properly — then you're OK. But things like wet sheetrock, insulation, carpeting ... probably have to be thrown away.

St. Lucie, Florida, schools halt reopening to fight mold from Hurricane
By Lindsay Jones, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer, PalmBeachPost.com 
Friday, September 17, 2004

Mold and mildew growing inside roofs, walls and carpets continue to plague the St. Lucie County School District, as staff members and private companies work to get schools ready to reopen after Hurricane Frances.

Classes will not resume until Monday at the earliest, not until school officials are convinced all buildings are clear of mold and safe for both students and teachers to return.

Superintendent Michael Lannon and his staff will decide today if the schools will be ready to hold classes Monday. "Without a doubt we are making sure all the facilities are safe," said Marty Sanders, executive director of facilities.

The district has hired environmental hygienists — Melbourne-based Evans Environmental and Geosciences — to study the mold growths and professional cleaning crews to get rid of them.

That process entails taking samples from roofs and testing moisture levels inside the buildings that sustained water damage. Carpeting has been removed from any room that had broken windows or ceiling leaks, and the cleaning crews are treating the mold growths with microbiotic cleansers.

"We're taking this very seriously," board member John Carvelli said. "We're taking a systematic, step-by-step process. I think the result will be that we will avoid any long-term problems."

Mold is considered an allergen and affects each person differently, with reactions ranging from minor nasal and sinus congestion to more severe problems such as wheezing and shortness of breath.

"When you have 35,000 students in a school district, we know that while it may not be a problem for most students, it is a problem for some," Sanders said. "We want to make sure we're creating the best environment we can for students."

St. Lucie officials contend the district was the hardest hit of any in the state from Frances, with every school affected in some way by the storm. Several schools sustained major damage, with the worst damage at Fort Pierce Central High, where the roof peeled off an entire academic building, and Fort Pierce Westwood High, where the gymnasium floor will have to be replaced after that building too lost its roof.

Sanders said Thursday that 20 portable classrooms would be placed on Central's campus by mid-October for the teachers who have been displaced. Several classrooms in other buildings on campus will be converted into science labs to replace those that were ruined.

School officials met with a construction company Thursday to begin plans to demolish Central's C wing and rebuild it elsewhere on campus. The entire school, which opened in 1970, was slated to be torn down and rebuilt within the next five years, though officials said that Frances has accelerated that process.

"We're looking at a long-term solution," Sanders said. "This is a fortunate opportunity to get a jump-start on our master plan."

Additional Hurricane-Typhoon-Tornado Mold News Articles

Natural Disaster Recovery: Fungi & Flood (Fact Sheet from OSHA)

[Hurricane-Typhoon-Tornado-News]

Entire Home Mold Testing
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Mold Cleaning, Remediation, Abatement, and Removal Tips
 
Learn the 25 steps for safe and effective mold remediation.

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For mold inspection, mold remediation, and mold prevention for your real estate property anywhere in the world, please contact mold consultants Phillip Fry and Divine Montero by email phil@moldinspector.com or by phone
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For mold inspection, mold remediation, and mold prevention for your real estate property anywhere in the world, please contact
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