Mold After a Hurricane or Major Disaster
The Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) recently published a CoreLogic study of potential residential exposure to hurricane storm-surge damage in coastal areas. The study found that 4.2 million homes, with a potential of $1.1 trillion in total property exposure, are at risk of damage caused by hurricane storm surge flooding. This damage includes, but is not limited to, potential mold growth.
After hurricanes and other natural disasters, excess moisture and standing water contribute to the growth of mold in homes and other buildings, so 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.
Preventing Water Damage Before a Hurricane or Major Disaster
Nationwide and the I.I.I. offer a few tips for protecting your home from potential water damage and mold damage:
- Install backflow valves or standpipes to prevent sewer lines from backing up.
- Install a sump pump system if you have below-grade floors. During a major disaster power outages are common so make sure to invest in a sump pump with long-lasting back up power.
- Install a flood-detection device that sounds an alarm or calls your phone if it senses water - typically in your basement.
What to Do In Case of Water Damage After a Hurricane or Major Disaster
- Check for structural damage before going inside.
- Contact a water damage mitigation professional to assess water loss-related damages.
- Use your cell phone or camera to photograph damage to help get your insurance claim started sooner.
- Inventory damaged or destroyed items.
Preventing or Cleaning Up Mold After a Hurricane or Major Disaster
Mold after a hurricane or major disaster can be a serious problem, and it's important to act fast to clean it and/or prevent it from spreading. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggests you take the following steps to prevent or clean up mold after a hurricane or major disaster:
- Clean up and dry out your home within 48 hours after the storm ends.
- Air out your house by opening doors and windows.
- Use fans to dry wet areas.
- Clean wet items and surfaces with detergent and water.
- Fix any leaks in roofs, walls, or plumbing as soon as you can.
If you notice mold after a hurricane or major disaster, contact a mold specialist immediately to assess the damage and create a mold remediation plan.
More info? For information on what to do in the event of water damage, read our post: Did Your House Flood?