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Steps if Your Home or Building Has Been
Damaged by a Hurricane, Typhoon, Tornado, Windstorm, Flooding, Earthquake,
or other natural disaster.
Hurricane-Typhoon-Tornado Mold News Articles ] [
Recovery: Fungi & Flood (Fact Sheet from OSHA)]
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
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
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
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.
You can use a low-cost
Mold Home Remedy Recipes available at
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
remediation, as explained at
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
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
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
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
"We're looking at a long-term solution," Sanders said.
"This is a fortunate opportunity to get a jump-start on our master plan."
Hurricane-Typhoon-Tornado Mold News Articles
Recovery: Fungi & Flood (Fact Sheet from OSHA)