Mold is one of the leading dangers after flooding to your home and other structures.  Mold needs moisture and food to grow and spreads easily.  If your home was flooded from Hurricane Matthew, you are at risk for mold damage if you don’t act fast.  FEMA.gov released the following Press Release following Severe Storms, Flooding and Tornadoes that hit Iowa a few years ago.  The information is still relevant and can be helpful.

Please remember, mold spores can spread easily.  It is best to find the source of the water problem first and fix if possible and then set up a containment barrier to prevent the spread of mold.  For safety reasons, it is best to hire professionals who are trained in mold remediation whenever mold is present in the home.

If your home sustained flood damage following Hurricane Matthew and you did not have flood insurance, North Carolina’s Department of Public Safety may be able to help.  Visit the Emergency Management section on their website at www.ncdps.gov for individual assistance information.


Mold Can Be a Dangers After Flooding

Release date:  September 22, 2010

Release Number:  1930-406

West Des Moines, Iowa–Mold can create serious health problems for residents recovering from the severe storms, flooding and tornadoes that occurred June 1 through Aug. 31, warn Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management and Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) officials overseeing the Iowa recovery effort.

“People are anxious to get on with their lives after a flood,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Tom Hall, FEMA’s top official for the disaster recovery, “but if you had flood waters in your home, take the time to clean thoroughly so problems don’t arise later that affect your home or your health.”

Officials urge residents and owners of flooded property to take action now and not wait until inspectors arrive.

“Local and state health officials have a wealth of information to share on this topic,” said State Coordinating Officer Pat Hall of the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division.  “We urge the public to take advantage of these resources.”

Hazards of Mold Infestation

Health officials say problems from exposure can follow if mold is disturbed through cleanup procedures.  Also, mold is easily transferred from one surface to another.  Infants, children, immune-compromised patients, pregnant women, individuals with existing respiratory conditions (allergies, multiple chemical sensitivity, and asthma) and the elderly appear to be at higher risks for adverse health effects from mold.

Symptoms include nose and throat irritation, wheezing, coughing, asthma attacks in individuals who have asthma, and lower respiratory tract infections (in children).  People with pre-existing respiratory conditions also may be susceptible to more serious lung infections.  It is important to identify mold early and take steps to clean it up and prevent more mold activity.

Identifying Mold

Mold growth is a common occurrence in flood-damaged homes and damp environments.  Mold can become a problem in your home if there is enough moisture available to allow mold to thrive and multiply.  Dampness in basements, walls, carpets, and wood provides an environment for mold to flourish.

Microscopic organisms are found everywhere and develop easily into mold in the presence of water or dampness.  Mold discoloration comes in a variety of colors from white to orange and from green to brown or black.  Whatever color, it characteristically gives off a musty or earthy smell.

Cleaning Up Mold – How to Get Rid of It

Some items must be removed; others can be cleaned.  Here are some tips:

  • Control the moisture problem.  The source of the water must be identified and corrected.
  • Porous materials with extensive mold growth should be discarded (e.g. drywall, carpeting, paper, and ceiling tiles).  For heirloom rugs and hardwood furniture, contact a professional cleaner.  Most furniture today is made of composite materials, which must be discarded.
  • Water can wick up higher than the visible water line. The best practice is to remove the wall board at least two feet above the water line.  Check local building codes for specific guidance.
  • Appliances such as refrigerators, freezers, cooking stoves, dishwashers, hot water heaters, washing machines and driers contain insulation, which may harbor mold spores without visible evidence and should be discarded.
  • Heating and air conditioning filters need to be changed and the system ductwork should be inspected by a professional.  Unless the system is away from the flooded area and hasn’t been operated, it may have to be replaced.

Last Updated:  July 16, 2012 – 18:46

State/Tribal Government or Region:  Iowa (/state/iowa)

Related Disaster:  Iowa Severe Storms, Flooding, and Tornadoes (/disaster/1930)