Southeast Drenched by Succession of Hurricanes

Southeast Drenched by Succession of Hurricanes

Tips to recognize mold and reduce its impact after floods


MEMPHIS, Tenn., Sept. 11 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — Even as Hurricane Ike, the third hurricane to hit the U.S. shores in two weeks, threatens Southern Florida and Gulf States, some residents are returning home to the effects of damaging flooding from Hurricanes Gustav and Hanna.

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On the wake of Hurricanes Gustav and Hanna, Hurricane Ike threatens to drench the Southeast under another deluge. Flooding, especially in warmer areas, can create the perfect environment for mold. The disaster restoration experts at ServiceMaster Clean offer homeowners the tips below to recognize and prevent spreading of mold.

Mold isn’t the only concern when returning home following a flood. Pete Duncanson, director of training and technical support for ServiceMaster Clean’s disaster restoration service, recommends wearing protective clothing before entering a flood-damaged home.

“The potential for mold is there, but you have other bacteria that enter the building as the waters rise,” said Duncanson. “Wear long sleeves and pants, wear gloves and boots, and if you do have a large presence of mold — you smell that earthy scent in the air — you may want to wear a respirator.”

Dry or discard wet items within 24-48 hours to avoid mold. Even after wet items are removed, mold may remain hidden in drywall, carpeting and HVAC systems. While bleach may be used to control mold, it does not kill it.

“Removing mold requires cutting away damp drywall and sanding wood,” said Duncanson. “Mold is nature’s recycling agent, it eats things. The sooner a remediation expert can get to those things covered in mold the less long-term damage.”

Tips from the Disaster Restoration Experts

What to do if your home or business suffers water damage:

— If the outside temperature is above 60 degrees, use dehumidifiers if


— Use fans to circulate the air and assist drying.

— Remove as much water as possible by mopping and blotting.

— Wipe furniture dry.

— Lift draperies off carpet, loop through a coat hanger, and place the

hanger on the drapery rod.

— Prop up wet furniture cushions for even drying and place small wood

blocks or aluminum foil under furniture legs.

— Remove wet area rugs or other floor coverings and open furniture

drawers, closet doors, and luggage to enhance drying.

— Move photos, paintings, and art objects to a safe, dry location.

— Remove wet fabrics and dry them as soon as possible. Hang furs and

leather goods to dry separately at room temperature.

— Remove damp books from shelves and spread out to dry.

— If damage occurs during a cool season, leave heat on; if in summer, use

an air conditioner if available.

Important warnings on water damage:

— Do not use an ordinary household vacuum to remove water.

— Do not use electrical appliances while on wet carpet or wet floors.

— Do not go into rooms with standing water if the electricity is still


— Do not lift tacked down carpet without professional help. Lifting the

carpet incorrectly could promote shrinkage.

— Do not wait to call for professional help. Damage from the water and

bacteria growth can begin within hours.

Important warnings on mold:

— Remove damp items from the home within 24 to 48 hours. Throw away any

wet items you don’t consider valuable. The replacement cost may be

less than restoration, but another brand in the ServiceMaster family,

Furniture Medic may be able to restore treasured wood furnishings and


— Never mix bleach with other cleaning products. The combination of

chemicals may create toxic fumes

— Avoid direct contact with affected mold areas as much as possible. Wear

protective clothing while sifting through items that were beneath the

flood waters or where mold has begun to spread.

Southeast Drenched by Succession of Hurricanes