Safely Preventing Mold Growth
Safely Preventing Mold Growth Clean up and dry out the building quickly (within 24 to 48 hours). Open doors and windows. Use fans to dry out the building.
• When in doubt, take it out! Remove all porous items that have been wet for more than 48 hours and that cannot be thoroughly cleaned and dried. These items can remain a source of mold growth and should be removed from the home. Porous, noncleanable items include carpeting and carpet padding, upholstery, wallpaper, drywall, floor and ceiling tiles, insulation material, some clothing, leather, paper, wood, and food. Removal and cleaning are important because even dead mold may cause allergic reactions in some people.
• To prevent mold growth, clean wet items and surfaces with detergent and water.
• Homeowners may want to temporarily store items outside of the home until insurance claims can be filed. If there is mold growth in your home, you should clean up the mold and fix any water problem, such as leaks in roofs, walls, or plumbing. Controlling moisture in your home is the most critical factor for preventing mold growth. Use a stiff brush on rough surface materials such as concrete. If you choose to use bleach to remove mold:
• Never mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners. Mixing bleach with ammonia or other cleaning products will produce dangerous, toxic fumes.
• Open windows and doors to provide fresh air.
• Wear non-porous gloves and protective eye wear.
• If the area to be cleaned is more than 10 square feet, consult the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guide titled Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings. Although focused on schools and commercial buildings, this document also applies to other building types.
• Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using bleach or any other cleaning product.
• If you plan to be inside the building for a while or you plan to clean up mold, you should buy an N95 mask at your local home supply store and wear it while in the building. Make certain that you follow instructions on the package for fitting the mask tightly to your face. If you go back into the building for a short time and are not cleaning up mold, you do not need to wear an N95 mask.
AFTER DISASTER: MOLD
Protect Yourself from Mold
After natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods, excess moisture and standing water contribute to the growth of mold in homes and other buildings. When returning to a home that has been flooded, be aware that mold may be present and may be a health risk for your family. People at Greatest Risk from Mold People with asthma, allergies, or other breathing conditions may be more sensitive to mold. People with immune suppression (such as people with HIV infection, cancer patients taking chemotherapy, and people who have received an organ transplant) are more susceptible to mold infections. Possible Health Effects of Mold Exposure People who are sensitive to mold may experience stuffy nose, irritated eyes, wheezing, or skin irritation. People allergic to mold may have difficulty in breathing and shortness of breath. People with weakened immune systems and with chronic lung diseases, such as obstructive lung disease, may develop mold infections in their lungs. If you or your family members have health problems after exposure to mold, contact your doctor or other health care provider. Recognizing Mold You may recognize mold by:
• Sight (Are the walls and ceiling discolored, or do they show signs of mold growth or water damage?)
• Smell (Do you smell a bad odor, such as a musty, earthy smell or a foul stench?)
EMERGENCY DISINFECTION OF DRINKING WATER AFTER DISASTER
USE ONLY WATER THAT HAS BEEN PROPERLY DISINFECTED FOR DRINKING, COOKING, MAKING ANY PREPARED DRINK, OR FOR BRUSHING TEETH
1. Use bottled water that has not been exposed to flood waters if it is available.
2. If you don’t have bottled water, you should boil water to make it safe. Boiling water will kill most types of disease-causing organisms that may be present. If the water is cloudy, filter it through clean cloths or allow it to settle, and draw off the clear water for boiling. Boil the water for one minute, let it cool, and store it in clean containers with covers.
3. If you can’t boil water, you can disinfect it using household bleach. Bleach will kill some, but not all, types of disease-causing organisms that may be in the water. If the water is cloudy, filter it through clean cloths or allow it to settle, and draw off the clear water for disinfection. Add 1/8 teaspoon (or 8 drops) of regular, unscented, liquid household bleach for each gallon of water, stir it well and let it stand for 30 minutes before you use it. Store disinfected water in clean containers with covers.
4. If you have a well that has been flooded, the water should be tested and disinfected after flood waters recede. If you suspect that your well may be contaminated, contact your local or state health department or agriculture extension agent for specific advice.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning After Disaster
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning:
Carbon Monoxide exposure is common after a disaster. Fact sheets review basic prevention tips and answers frequently asked questions.
Prevention Guidelines You Can Prevent Carbon Monoxide Exposure ? Do have your heating system, water heater and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year. ? Do install a battery-operated CO detector in your home and check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. If the detector sounds leave your home immediately and call 911. ? Do seek prompt medical attention if you suspect CO poisoning and are feeling dizzy, light-headed, or nauseous. ? Don't use a generator, charcoal grill, camp stove, or other gasoline or charcoal-burning device inside your home, basement, or garage or near a window. ? Don't run a car or truck inside a garage attached to your house, even if you leave the door open. ? Don’t burn anything in a stove or fireplace that isn’t vented. ? Don’t heat your house with a gas oven.
Be Safe AFTER
Be Safe AFTER
- Listen to authorities for information and special instructions.
- Be careful during clean-up. Wear protective clothing and work with someone else.
- Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or if you are standing in water. If it is safe to do so, turn off electricity at the main breaker or fuse box to prevent electric shock.
- Avoid wading in flood water, which can contain dangerous debris. Underground or downed power lines can also electrically charge the water.
- Save phone calls for emergencies. Phone systems are often down or busy after a disaster. Use text messages or social media to communicate with family and friends.
- Document any property damage with photographs. Contact your insurance company for assistance.
- If told to evacuate, do so immediately. Do not drive around barricades.
- If sheltering during high winds, go to a FEMA safe room, ICC 500 storm shelter, or a small, interior, windowless room or hallway on the lowest floor that is not subject to flooding.
- If trapped in a building by flooding, go to the highest level of the building. Do not climb into a closed attic. You may become trapped by rising flood water.
- Listen for current emergency information and instructions.
- Use a generator or other gasoline-powered machinery outdoors ONLY and away from windows.
- Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters. Turn Around. Don’t Drown! Just six inches of fast-moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
- Stay off of bridges over fast-moving water.
Storm Surge Prep
Storm surge is water from the ocean that is pushed toward the shore by the force of the winds swirling around a hurricane. Storm surge is fast and can produce extreme coastal and inland flooding. When hurricanes cause storm surge, over 20 feet of water can be produced and pushed towards the shore and several miles inland destroying property and endangering lives in its path.
Storm surge is historically the leading cause of hurricane-related deaths in the United States.
Water weighs about 1,700 pounds per cubic yard, so battering waves from surge can easily demolish buildings and cause massive destruction along the coast.
Storm surge undermines roads and foundations when it erodes material out from underneath them.
Just one inch of water can cause $25,000 of damage to your home. Homeowners and renter’s insurance do not typically cover flood damage.
home fire escape plan
Your ability to get out of your home during a fire depends on advance warning from smoke alarms and advance planning
Fire can spread rapidly through your home, leaving you as little as one or two minutes to escape safely once the smoke alarm sounds. A closed door may slow the spread of smoke, heat and fire. Install smoke alarms in every sleeping room and outside each separate sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home. Pull together everyone in your household and make a plan. Walk through your home and inspect all possible exits and escape routes. Households with children should consider drawing a floor plan of your home, marking two ways out of each room, including windows and doors.
Fire Causes and Risks
We can all help make the world a safer place by learning more about how and why fires start. We offer countless consumer-friendly safety tips on a wide range of timely and important topics - everything you need to know to keep you, your family, and your neighbors safe from fire and related hazards. In This Section
- Top fire causes Cooking, heating, electrical, smoking, and candles.
- Regional risks Wildfire, rural areas, and urban areas
- Seasonal fire causes Fireworks, grilling, Halloween, lightning, outdoor entertaining, Thanksgiving, wildland fires, winter holiday safety
- Specific groups at risk People with disabilities and older adults
- Behavioral risks Hoarding and burn awareness
- Wildfire Learn to protect your family and community from wildland fires
Fire Safety Hero- Make a Plan
Be a hero
How do you define a hero? Is it…a person who is courageous and performs good deeds? Someone who comes to the aid of others, even at personal risk?
A hero can be all of those things. A hero can also be…someone who takes small, but important actions to keep themselves and those around them safe from fire. When it comes to fire safety, maybe you’re already a hero in your household or community. If not, maybe you’re feeling inspired to become one. It's easy to take that first step - make your home escape plan!