FRANKFORT, Ky. -- After a flood, as residents return home, recovery experts from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) want Kentuckians to be on the lookout for mold, which can cause serious health concerns if not cleaned up properly. Water-damaged rooms are ideal for mold to flourish. Cleaning mold quickly and completely is essential for a healthy home, especially for people suffering from allergies and asthma.
When cleaning up mold, residents should protect themselves by wearing protective gloves and a mask, ventilating the area and applying disinfectants to already cleaned surfaces. Clean wet places immediately using these tips:
- Identify the sources of moisture and correct it. Mold cannot grow without moisture.
- Discard any porous materials that already have mold on it, including carpet, drywall, insulation and ceiling tiles.
- Thoroughly clean any non-porous materials like glass, metal and ceramic, with a 10 percent solution of household bleach and water (approximately 1 ¼ cups of bleach per gallon of water). Wash down walls, floors and other contaminated areas.
- When using bleach, be sure that the area is well ventilated. Never mix bleach and ammonia cleaning products.
- Remove damaged wallboard at least two feet above the water line.
- Change heating and air-conditioning filters and have duct work inspected by a professional.
- For highly contaminated areas, or for individuals allergic to mold, hire a professional to do the cleanup as disturbing the mold during cleanup can increase exposure.
- After cleanup, monitor the area for any new mold growth and signs of moisture.
Mold growth is a common occurrence in flood-damaged homes and damp environments. Mold could become a problem in your home if there is enough moisture available to allow mold to thrive and multiply. Dampness in basements, walls, carpets, and wood provides an environment for mold to flourish.
Mold is made up of simple microscopic organisms that are found virtually everywhere. It can often be seen in the form of discoloration, ranging from white to orange and from green to brown and black, and gives off a musty or earthy smell.
Additional information about mold is available at the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services website: chfs.ky.gov/dph/info/phps/mold.htm as well as at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control's website: ww.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/mold/protect.asp.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.