FEMA Says Home, Business Cleanup Should Not Be Delayed Following Storms

August 18, 2004

Concerned and anxious homeowners, business owners and renters should not delay in cleaning up after a disaster.

“You don’t have to wait for an inspector to begin clean up,” Lou Botta, federal coordinating officer with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), said. “FEMA does need some form of documentation such as photos or videotape, but flood clean up needs to begin as soon as possible,” he added.

Floodwaters may reportedly introduce a number of toxic materials onto surfaces and may permeate carpeting, furniture, flooring and wallboard. These areas need to be sanitized as soon as possible.

“We advise residents to assume that anything touched by floodwaters is contaminated and needs to be cleaned quickly or thrown out. Floodwaters contain sewage, chemicals from roads, farms, factories and household chemicals,” Stephen Kappa, state-coordinating officer for the West Virginia Office of Emergency Services, said. “They should not wait for an inspector before getting rid of dangerous chemicals in the home or business.”

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