Public Health Preparedness
Hurricane-Related Mold Damage
Hurricane-Related Mold Damage
With the amazing power and devastation brought by recent hurrican seasons, it is never too soon to begin preparing for the 2008 season, which has been predicted to have near normal to above normal number of hurricanes.
EHA has over 35 years of experience with mold related matters and can assist you with assessment of the property and your health concerns.
EHA's teams of qualified professionals are ready to respond immediately with offices in West Palm Beach and Tampa Bay, Florida. Please feel free to contact us at 561-965-0250 in West Palm Beach, 813-236-8220 in Tampa Bay or via our corporate offices in Baltimore at 800-969-1441.
As public health consultants, our first concern is for the health and safety of the people who suffer through these unfortunate events. The potential for disease outbreaks and serious injury loom far after the threat of a major hurricane. As such, people affected by major weather events of catastrophic size must first be prepared to deal with the following conditions so critical to human survival including food, water and shelter.
- Infectious diseases and chemical exposure - Diseases such as typhoid and cholera are associated with the consumption of contaminated food and water supplies due to flooding of sewers and sewage systems. Viral and parasitic diseases such as Hepatitis A and Cryptosporidiosis can also become major threats to the public's health. Contaminated flood waters may also harbor toxic chemicals including pesticides and petroleum by-products.
- CO- Carbon Monoxide intoxication - Precautions should be taken to ensure that adequate ventilation exists whenever running any gasoline powered engine such as, large pumps, generators or vehicles. Deaths have been associated with CO intoxication in past seasons.
- Safe food and water - Often the most critical two items essential to survival, safe food and water are often in short supply during major catastrophes. Food that has not been properly refrigerated should not be consumed. Whenever possible, drink only boiled or bottled water. If boiling water is not practical, authorities recommend the use of chlorine bleach at a concentration of1/8 teaspoon per gallon of water, but be advised that some pathogenic organisms are resistant to this chemical treatment.
- Mosquito transmitted diseases - Diseases such as Encephalitis and West Nile Virus can be of serious concern. Since most hurricanes occur during the summer months, when temperatures can be sweltering, the best line of defense is a mosquito repellant containing DEET or Picariin.
Long after a hurricane has passed, after basic survival has been assured and upon return to your property, the threat of mold looms. For this reason, we've listed our Emergency Prevention of Mold Damage & Property Damage recommendations below to help provide you with the first steps you should take to limit mold damage.
Emergency Prevention of Mold Damage & Property Damage Recommendations
- Drain out all standing water immediately. Draining standing water is essential to prevent mold as well as mosquitoes that can cause West Nile Virus. Removal of standing water in all areas of the property will aid in reducing the mosquito population in the community.
- Remove from the property as soon as possible all water damaged items such as carpet, furniture, wall boards, mattresses, etc. Moisture and high humidity are ideal environments for the growth of mold and microorganisms.
- Water damaged materials should be discarded; materials that are wet and cannot be thoroughly dried and cleaned within 24-48 hours must be removed and destroyed.
- Increase ventilation in the environment to help decrease the humidity.
Professional remediation should be considered, but with the following features in mind:
If the water and/or mold damage was caused by sewage or other contaminated water, then call in a professional who has experience cleaning, drying and remediation buildings damaged by contaminated water. They must be licensed and insured.
If you have health concerns, consult your health care provider or county health department.
If you choose to hire a contractor (or other professional service provider) to do the cleanup, make sure the contractor has experience cleaning up mold. Check references and ask the contractor to follow the recommendations in EPA's Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings, the guidelines of the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH), or other guidelines from professional or government organizations.
Do not let inexperienced and unqualified companies scare you into using their services!!
EHA has over 35 years of experience with mold related matters and can assist you with assessment of the property and your health concerns. EHA's teams of qualified professionals are ready to respond immediately with offices in West Palm Beach and Tampa Bay, Florida.
Please feel free to contact us at 561-965-0250 in West Palm Beach or via our corporate offices in Baltimore at 800-969-1441.
Contact EHA Consulting Group today for more information about how we can assist your company.