Mold is a dangerous adversary that residents have to face after a hurricane. When handling mold, individuals need to be safe and protect themselves – not only with the proper equipment but knowledge as well.
Upon returning home, residents should be alert to potential mold infestation and protect themselves.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals recommend that everyone avoid unnecessary exposure.
“If a resident is preparing to clean up a mold-infested house, wear a filtering face mask, and use protective goggles, gloves and clothing to reduce your exposure to mold,” said Scott Wells, the federal coordinating officer.
Mold, which is a fungus that causes organic matter to decay, grows on things that have been wet for several days, especially after flooding. Individuals can recognize mold because it stains objects such as walls and ceilings and has a musty, earthy smell. Mold can also be hidden behind furniture, under carpets, floors and cabinets, in closets or attics and inside walls.
If there is more than 10 square feet of mold in the house, consider using a professional mold clean-up contractor. In cleaning a house, begin by removing all standing water and drying out the building as soon as possible. Throw away all moldy things that cannot be cleaned. Remember, “When in doubt, throw it out!” Finally, clean all hard surfaces. Scrub mold off of hard surfaces with a stiff brush and a mixture of one cup of bleach to one gallon of water. Never mix bleach with ammonia.
For more information on mold clean-up, call the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals at 1-888-293-7020. Also, you can visit: www.dhh.louisiana.gov (Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals).
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