LINCOLN, Neb. -- Nebraskans whose home or business was affected by flooding because of recent storms should know the growth of mold after flooding can cause serious health problems. If the home or work environment will continue to be used, proper cleanup is a must. And the sooner the better, because mold can start to grow within 48 hours.?
Some symptoms of mold sickness are difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, stuffy nose, irritated eyes or skin irritation, mold may be in the air. People who have asthma, pregnant women, infants, the elderly and individuals with compromised immune systems are at higher risk of suffering from mold. If you notice unusual health problems after your property is flooded, check with your doctor or health care provider to find out if mold is the cause.
If your house does develop a mold problem, all areas of the home must be checked, cleaned and dried including air ducts and basement crawl spaces. To prevent further mold growth, seal leaks in roofs, walls or pipes that bring excess moisture into the house. Discard moldy drywall, ceiling tiles and wet insulation. Keep receipts from the cleaning process since disaster assistance may be available to help with cleaning costs.
To remove mold growth from hard surfaces use a bleach with 5.25 percent of sodium hypochlorite, such as Clorox or Purex Bleach. Mix no more than ? cup of bleach in 1 gallon of water. Use a stiff brush on rough surfaces like concrete. Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners; mixing bleach with other cleaning products will produce dangerous toxic fumes.
For additional information on mold and mold cleanup, the Environmental Protection Agency provides a description of the dangers of mold and how to clean and disinfect a mold-damaged home on its web page. Mold resources are available at www.epa.gov/mold/moldresources.html.
Damage to a home from flooding may be so extensive that it may be better to hire a contractor or cleaning service to help with flood damage cleanup. When hiring a contractor, use extra care in the hiring process; make sure he or she has experience cleaning up mold. Avoid offers that seem to good to be true.
State/FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers in Ceresco, Kearney, Lexington, Omaha and Schuyler can give visitors information on mold cleanup. Brochures are also available on mitigation methods that will help decrease future flood damage to a home or business. To find a center located near you call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the speech- or hearing-impaired.
Anyone who suffered property or personal losses and lives or works in one of the counties declared eligible for disaster aid, should register with FEMA. Call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY-1-800-462-7585 for the speech- or hearing-impaired. Applicants may qualify for a mold cleanup grant.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.