Important Post-Flooding Advice To Avoid Health Hazards

Important Post-Flooding Advice To Avoid Health Hazards
We need water to live, it brings us life. At the same time, water can be a destructive force which is a particular concern during times of flooding.
More than two weeks has past since the flooding began in Regina, Southern Saskatchewan, and parts of Alberta. Got Mold? has helped and is currently helping many flood affected residents. In the words of one of our happy customers:
I had to cut my holiday short this July (2014) because I got an emergency call that the sewage was pouring into my basement. Pouring it was because of the heavy rains in southeast Saskatchewan this summer! Well it finally stopped and I had made contact with the company Got Mold who said they would come in as soon as they can. Within a day or two my basement started to smell and look a lot better! Their staff are excellent, very professional, and able to handle these offending and hazardous materials in a very safe and sanitary manner. I would recommend Got Mold Saskatoon to anyone at any time. Thank you very much for such wonderful work. (Brenda from Regina)
The primary concern of Water Damage Restoration professionals, like Got Mold?, is not only to help bring your life back to normal, but to ensure that you stay healthy. In the areas we have surveyed and are working in, the water damage is extensive. Consequently, it is important to act quickly because mold, fungi and disease-causing bacteria thrive in water-logged environments.
There are three primary concerns caused by water damage: structural; mold and it’s impact on health; and the threat of hazardous bacteria.
1. STRUCTURAL
Indications that your home may be conducive to mold growth include the following: obvious water damage; condensation on windows; musty odors; water stains; new or increased allergy symptoms; cracked or peeling paint, loose drywall tape and/or wall paper; rusty metal (a sign of high humidity); and drawers or doors that stick.
Mold can literally eat the structure it is feeding on. In an earlier article, we mentioned that a home is an all you can eat buffet for mold because today’s building materials are the perfect food for mold: organic, dead material including wood, drywall, fabric, and paper.
In short, left unchecked, mold will degrade the structural integrity of your property and ultimately reduce its long term value if it is not dealt with.
2. HEALTH
Unfortunately, the problems caused by mold are not just cosmetic. We have written extensively on the health concerns caused by mold which are linked to Cancer, MS, Parkinson’s, Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome, Depression, Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis, Mycotoxicosis, Asthma…Mold is Scary!
According to mycotoxin expert Dr. Harriet Ammann, exposure to indoor molds can damage the systems of your body in the following ways:
  • Vascular: blood vessel fragility, hemorrhage from tissues or lungs
  • Digestive: diarrhea, vomiting, hemorrhage, liver damage, fibrosis and necrosis
  • Respiratory: trouble breathing, bleeding from lungs
  • Neurological: tremors, loss of coordination, headaches, depression, multiple sclerosis
  • Skin: rashes, burning, sloughing, photosensitivity
  • Urinary: kidney toxicity
  • Reproductive: infertility, changes in reproductive cycles
  • Immune: Immunosuppression
  • As documented by our interviews with toxic mold survivors, long term and chronic exposure to mold has caused mycotoxicosis, literally poisoning their bodies. Furthermore, as pointed out by Michael Pinto, even a little exposure to mold can cause health issues. Bottom line, mold is a serious concern and you need to be aware of this.
    Mold is not the only health consideration, the other major issue caused by flooding is the threat of…
    3. HAZARDOUS BACTERIA
    Water provides the perfect environment for harmful bacteria to multiply. When you experience water damage, the longer you wait to begin dealing with the concern, the worse it can get. The more time water sits increases the risk of bio-hazard, meaning category 1 water can turn into category 2 water and eventually category 3 water, which is the most toxic.
    ACT IMMEDIATELY!
    To prevent the onset of mold and reduce the risk of bio-hazard, you need to act fast and begin the clean up process immediately. Ideally, you should hire a PROFESSIONAL restoration contractor and not just your contractor buddy and start the claims process with your insurance company.
    During times of crisis, and particularly because restoration contractors get over-whelmed with too many requests, many victims of flooding tend to take matters into their own hands. If you are forced to do this, then here are some key tips to keep in mind while you are waiting for your restoration professional to arrive:
  • Have the area cleared by emergency workers if you have standing water in an area where fuse boxes and/or electrical circuitry is submerged before attempting to pump out the water.
  • Turn off your gas line.
  • Wear an N95 or N100 respirator mask, available at most hardware and medical supply stores.
  • Wear rubber boots and puncture-resistant gloves. Ideally, don a polypropylene coverall.
  • Be sure to carefully dry any belongings you want to try to save.
  • Items that should be thrown out, particularly if they have been underwater include the following: carpet, carpet padding, and rugs; upholstered furniture; computers, microwaves, window A/C units, or any appliances that have fans; papers and books; and food items, including canned foods if they were in contact with flood waters.
  • We strongly advise against doing your own tear out primarily because you do not want to release potentially harmful mold or asbestos in the atmosphere. This will just make the situation worse and create more costly problems, particularly if asbestos is present and not properly abated.
    When you do meet with your restoration professional don’t be afraid to ask them how they intend to deal with your water damage restoration project. Professionals will:
  • Know how to assess the category of water and extent of damage;
  • Provide you with a scope of work that will assess structural issues based on the class of damage;
  • Outline what contents need to be removed;
  • How to deal with and remove excess water;
  • Provide you with a drying and monitoring strategy using air movers and dehumidifers; and
  • A sanitizing plan to ensure a healthy environment.
  • The primary purpose of water damage restoration is to restore the property to pre-loss condition. Once all the work is complete, hire a Third Party Environmental Consultant to perform post-remediation tests, particularly, if any mold, category 2 or 3 water was present. This final step will provide further peace of mind that the water damage restoration contractor did a professional and competent job. Once a PASS is documented on the clearance test, then confidently rebuild your property during the reconstruction phase and if you so choose, hire your friend, the contractor!
    If you have questions, call us toll free, 1-888-909-6653 or use the form below.

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