A key fact to remember about mold is that it can grow in as little as 24–48 hours given the right conditions. Thanks to its hardy nature, it only needs two main components to transition from a non-living mold spore to a living mold colony.
These two components are:
As it eats most organic matter, the entire home offers a giant buffet for any lucky mold spore. That leaves water as the missing factor needed for growth. A flooding event of any kind creates the perfect conditions, which is why drying out the space should be at the top of your priority list. The longer that moisture remains in the home, the greater the chance for indoor contamination.
To avoid this, have a plan in place to quickly and effectively dry out your indoor environment and clean the space to remove any unwanted contaminants that slipped in, such as mold spores and bacteria.
Throughout each step of the process, take the time to document everything. This will help tremendously with insurance companies.
Steps to take after a flooding event include:
Determine what is causing the flooding and resolve it ASAP (this may require professionals)
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
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. 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
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
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.
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, “How Do You Prevent Flooding in a Home,” click here.
To learn more about, “Does Your Insurance Cover Flooding and Mold,” click here.To learn more about, “How Do You Avoid Mold Before an Upcoming Flooding Event,” click here.
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