Unless you have been living under a rock for the last couple of days, you will all be fully aware of the terrible tragedies and the trail of destruction left by Hurricane Michael. With lives lost, property destroyed and precious memories gone for ever, you could easily be forgiven for thinking that those families whose homes escaped destruction had gotten away relatively luckily.
However, in terms of the property situation, their problems may only just be beginning. The problem is that for those properties which had any exposure to the tragic flooding, mold can already be established in their properties, and spreading with alarming speed.
One local resident told us “ when we initially returned to our property; we were thankful that it was still intact and seemed to be relatively unscathed, compared to some of our neighbors. Unfortunately, as we were to discover, things were not quite as good as we initially believed. That was because as we removed items of property that had been destroyed by the flood, we began to discover horrible black mold. The mold was everywhere, on our furniture, on the walls, and even inside the dry wall which we had to remove as it was beyond repair. It was a living nightmare, and was spreading almost quicker than we could remove it.”
The problem with mold is that not only does it spread rapidly, but it is also harmful to the health of humans. The spores of the pollen spread through the air, exposing the occupants of the property both by inhalation and skin contact.
Perhaps just as worrying the life span of these spores is relatively long, meaning that the danger does not pass quickly. The symptoms for anyone exposed to these spores include irritated eyes, respiratory problems, and coughing.
What Does Mold Need To Survive and Prosper?
Mold prospers in certain conditions, and unfortunately, a majority of those conditions are exactly the conditions that remain after a property has been flooded. The only requirements are moisture, oxygen, a surface to grow on, and some sort of food source. Even the food source requirements are easy to come by, as they include moist leaves, wood, cloth, paper, and dust.
Can You Just Kill The Spores?
Unfortunately killing the spores is not an option, because even though the mold itself may be dead, they will still contain allergens, which can be harmful to human health. The only option is total removal, which can sometimes be virtually impossible depending on the location and volume of the mold. If the water has seeped into every wall of the property, and mold has begun to grow inside all of the dry walls, then it may be impossible to ever completely remove the mold from your home.
Open all of your windows and doors and turn on fans, as it is essential to ventilate the building as quickly as possible. For the next stage, there are two alternatives, scrubbing hard with a mixture of fungicide, bleach, and water, or the more intense professional option of wet vacuuming, or even vacuuming with a high efficiency, air purifier.
Throw out any materials which or items which cannot be washed or disinfected. This could include items such as mattresses, rugs, and carpets, upholstery, and even books. Unfortunately, it is essential that you remain strong and even if an item of property has some sentimental value, if it meets the above criteria, it needs to go. If insulation or dry walls have been contaminated, then these items cannot be salvaged and must also be destroyed. Finally clean all hard surfaces, such as floors, walls counter tops and kitchen appliances with a mixture of hot water and laundry detergent.
How Can You Be Certain That All Mold Has Been Eradicated?
Unfortunately, there is no way of being 100 percent certain, that all of the mold has been eradicated. This is because the spores are so small they can remain undetected in small nooks and crannies, and once established it can spread almost at the speed of light. Provided it has food and moisture, the mold will continue to grow and spread, and it will never die.
Considering that mold can gain hold within 24 hours, for people who have been unable to gain access to their properties for a few days or even weeks, there may be little hope of saving their homes. The only solution may be the bulldozer, and unfortunately, in the fast moving world of television news, those victims of the hurricane will never receive the current high level of publicity, even though their plight may be just as bad.