Remember that mold can grow in as little as 24 hours. Having a plan in place to quickly and effectively dry out, clean, and repair your indoor environment is crucial for eliminating opportunities for contaminants like mold and bacteria.
Throughout each step of the process, take the time to document everything. This will help tremendously with insurance companies.
Steps to take to address water damage from a hurricane include:
- Determine where the water intrusion is coming from
- Put on protective gear, including clothing, gloves, and a respirator
- Pump out any standing water
- Use a shop vacuum to remove any remaining water
- Toss out any porous items
- Mop, clean, and dry the area thoroughly
- Turn on the dehumidifier
- Contact a qualified mold inspector to come in and assess the home
- Get in touch with your insurance company and start filing your claim
- Contact any required professionals to begin resolving any structural issues so that the moisture intrusion cannot occur again
For more information on these steps, check out this blog post. From there, any necessary repairs can begin to be made and belongings replaced.
If any contamination is found in the home during the mold inspection, the best option is to call in a qualified remediation company to come in and decontaminate the space as soon as possible. The longer the mold is present in the building, the more particles it will release into the air, contaminating that indoor space. Keep in mind that the team should address the source that led to the water damage in the first place, remove the actively growing sources, and eliminate contamination in the space including mycotoxins and bacteria.
Deep cleaning to remove contamination should also be performed on all belongings in the building.
A few other considerations for maintaining a safe environment include:
- Replacing any porous structural items like insulation that were affected by the water damage
- Thoroughly decontaminating all semi-porous items such as wood
- Having a professional assess appliances such as water heaters for issues
- Hiring a professional decontamination team to come out and thoroughly clean the entire space
Removing contamination can be tricky, especially once microorganisms like mold put down roots. Calling in the big guns can help you save time and ensure you’re living in a healthy environment.
For renters, it’s a little more tricky to handle as you do not own the home and are subject to the property owner’s decisions.
Steps you should take include:
- Document any and all damage
- Get in touch with the landlord to alert them to the problem
- Contact the insurance company
- Begin drying out the space as much as possible and cleaning all surfaces
- Determine if a mold inspector will be coming by
- Ensure any repairs are completed ASAP
- Determine how the space will be properly decontaminated
From there, it’s up to the landlord to ensure that it’s once again a safe indoor environment and that any mold after a hurricane is handled.
If you’re concerned with how an event was handled, consult with a "toxic tort" attorney in your area who can advise you of your rights. Unfortunately, the rights vary from state to state, so you’ll need someone who is knowledgeable and able to handle specific regulations in your area. With these in hand, you can start down the right path to make sure you have safe housing.
To learn more about protecting a home from water damage from a hurricane, click here.
To learn more about protecting your home from mold before a hurricane hits, click here.
To learn more about whether or not your insurance will cover you for mold after a hurricane, click here.
To learn more about checking for mold after a hurricane hits, click here.
Still Have Questions?
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