Public Information Specialist
Volusia County, FL. – As Floridians clean and repair storm-damaged homes and buildings, the Florida Department of Health in Volusia County, urges the public to take action to avoid poor indoor air quality.
Moisture that enters buildings from leaks or flooding accelerates mold growth. Mold can cause disease, trigger allergic reactions, and continue to damage materials long after the storm. Failure to control moisture and mold can present short and long-term health risks.
CLEAN UP MOLD AND PROTECT YOUR HEALTH
- Protect yourself: Wear personal protective equipment (cleaning appropriate gloves, N95 respirator/mask, and safety goggles) to protect your skin, mouth, nose, lungs, and eyes.
- Toss / Take it out: Anything that was wet with flood water and can’t be cleaned and dried completely within 24 to 48 hours should be taken outside. Take photos of all discarded items to assist with filing insurance claims.
- Air-out: Open all doors and windows when you are removing wet or moldy materials, or when cleaning moldy surfaces.
- Drying it out: When electricity is safe to use, you can close doors/windows and use fans and dehumidifiers to help remove moisture indoors. Dehumidifiers can only dehumidify under closed indoor conditions. Dry your home and everything in it as quickly as possible – within 24 to 48 hours, if possible.
- Don’t mix cleaners: If you use cleaning products, do not mix cleaning products together. Mixing cleaners will create toxic and deadly vapors.
- Scrub surfaces: Clean with water and detergent. Remove all mold you can see. Dry right away.
- Don’t cover it, remove it: Painting or caulking over mold will not prevent mold from growing. Dry it out and remove all the mold before you paint or caulk.
- Consider your medical status: Individuals with suppressed or impaired immune systems, mold allergies, asthma, or other chronic lung disease should not clean or remove moldy materials. See your doctor if you are unsure of your medical status. Seek immediate medical attention if you’re not feeling well.
- Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning: Never use gasoline or propane-powered tools or generators indoors. These devices produce very hazardous carbon monoxide that is invisible and odorless and can kill you within minutes. If you are using a generator, place it at least 20 feet from all buildings. Install a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector in your home.
For more information about indoor air quality and mold growth, contact the Florida Department of Health in Volusia County at (386) 274-0694 or visit www.floridahealth.gov/indoorair.
The Environmental Protection Agency has recommendations for flooded homes at https://www.epa.gov/flooded-homes.
Residents should hire contractors who are licensed by the state and/or the county. If a contractor is not properly licensed, the homeowner could be sued if he or she is injured on the job. Most homeowners’ insurance policies will not pay a claim if the homeowner has contracted with an unlicensed individual.
About the Florida Department of Health
The Florida Department of Health, nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.
Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @HealthyVolusia. For more information please visit www.FloridaHealth.gov