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Mold Prevention Steps for Damaged
Homes or Buildings

A Focus on Buildings Effected by Natural Disaster:
Hurricane, Typhoon, Tornado, Windstorm, Flooding,
Earthquake, Tsunami or Fire

"Unless we put medical freedom into the Constitution, the time will come when medicine will organize into an underground dictatorship ... To restrict the art of healing to one class of men and deny equal privileges to others will constitute the Bastille of medical science. All such laws are un-American and despotic and have no place in a republic ... The Constitution of this republic should make special privilege for medical freedom as well as religious freedom."

Dr. Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration of Independence

If your home, condominium, apartment, office, or other building has suffered serious roof, wall, structural, flooding, or other water damage because of a hurricane, typhoon, tornado, windstorm, flooding, earthquake, Tsunami, fire, or other natural disaster, you would be wise to take the following preventive steps to reduce the resulting mold infestation that will surely grow from the damage your home or building has suffered.

Mold spores can damage building structures and pose health problems for many people. For example as to the 2004 Florida hurricanes, FEMA spokesman Cleo Howell said that Florida's high heat and humidity are perfect environments for mold growth, which can begin as early as a day or two after water gets in a house.

  1. Prior to any repairs, photograph from every appropriate angle all damage that has been happened to your home or other building. You may need this photographic evidence to help collect for the water, structural, and mold damage.
  2. Use do-it-yourself mold test kits or the Scotch tape lift sampling technique [explained in the mold test kit section of Mold Mart] to test any visible mold growth so that you can send the mold test kits to a mold laboratory for analysis and mold species identification. Also, use mold test kits to mold test the air of each room, attic, basement, crawl space, and the outward air flow [if electricity is on] from each heating/cooling duct register for the possible presence of elevated levels of airborne mold spores, in comparison to an outdoor mold control test. You should repeat this testing of the air every 7 days so that you can determine if the mold situation is under control or out of control. You should also be photographing and testing any new mold growths.
  3. Read your insurance policy very carefully to see in what ways the insurance company could try to restrict or reject your insurance claim for mold growth damage and for the expenses of mold inspection, testing, and remediation. If you don't understand the policy, have it explained to you by your agent, the insurance company claims adjuster, an independent insurance adjuster [who works solely on your behalf against the insurance company on a commission basis], or your attorney. You may need to have the home or building inspected and tested [with a written report of the inspector's findings] by a Certified Mold Inspector. The goal of the Certified Mold Inspector is to document that there is new mold growth that was directly caused by the sudden and accidental, insured event such as a hurricane, typhoon, tornado, windstorm, fire, or water line break. If you believe your insurance policy should cover the water and mold damage, but the company refuses to pay, you definitely need to have professional representation by an independent insurance adjuster or an insurance-oriented attorney. You should also read our in depth book mold legal book.
  4. Cover or close in securely with tarps all broken windows, damaged roof sections, damaged siding sections, and other storm or fire building damage to keep as much rain as possible from entering into your home or building. The more water that enters your home or building, the worse the mold damage your property will suffer.
  5. Spray at least two wet coatings of EPA-registered fungicide Shockwave [with drying in between, assisted by a fan after the fungicide has worked for at least one hour] into all damaged building areas and on all exterior and interior surfaces [attic, basement, crawl space, each room on the walls, ceilings, and floors, plus into each heating/cooling duct register]. If there is no electricity, use either a hand pump sprayer [about $40 from Home Depot, Lowe's, or a hardware store], or a small electric sprayer connected to a small electric generator. Spray all of your furnishings and carpeting and personal possessions with Shockwave. For every week that your home goes unrepaired, repeat this Shockwave spraying of both the home and your possessions. Shockwave is one of the few EPA-registered fungicides that are rated to treat both porous and non-porous surfaces. Most fungicides are only rated to treat nonporous surfaces such as a kitchen counter top or ceramic tile. What mold will grow in is porous wood, other building materials, carpeting, padding, furniture upholstery, clothing, and other cellulose based materials which mold growth is able to feed upon. Buy Shockwave at mold fungicide.
  6. Learn and utilize the 25 steps required for safe and effective mold remediation, as explained at Mold Remediation.
  7. When you return to your house after a hurricane, flood, or other natural disaster, and when it is safe to turn the electricity on [no standing water and with the approval of your local electric utility company or city building department], turn on the air conditioning to distribute cool, dry air throughout the house to begin the drying-out. If you don't yet have electricity, leave the windows closed to keep moist outdoor air from entering into your home or other building.
  8. Wet drywall can sometimes be dried, but speed in drying is absolutely essential. If the drywall remains wet for any length of time [especially after 24 hours], mold can start to grow INSIDE the drywall, as well as behind the drywall. Vinyl wall covering should be removed because the vinyl is a moisture barrier preventing the drywall underneath from drying fast. FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] recommends that wet drywall be cut out and discarded immediately because the moisture inside the drywall can wick its way up the drywall above and beyond any original flooding impact.
  9. If you are going to cover furniture and household effects with plastic, make sure they are very dry and that the plastic is totally sealed on all sides, including the bottom, to completely encapsulate the furniture from high humidity in the air that is the result of hurricanes, flooding, etc.. When you put plastic over an item that is not totally dry, or that has access to high humidity, you have made the plastic coverings act like greenhouses where mold will grow abundantly.
  10. FEMA recommends that flood or water damage victims first get everything that is wet out of the house ... if you can clean it, like clothes -- wash and dry it properly -- then you're OK. But things like wet sheetrock, insulation, carpeting ... probably have to be thrown away.

St. Lucie, Florida, schools halt reopening
to fight mold from Hurricane

By Lindsay Jones
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
PalmBeachPost.com
Friday, September 17, 2004

Mold and mildew growing inside roofs, walls and carpets continue to plague the St. Lucie County School District, as staff members and private companies work to get schools ready to reopen after Hurricane Frances...

The First article above reprinted with permission from the author:

Phillip Fry
Certified Mold Inspector, Certified Mold Contractor,
& Certified Environmental Inspector

In the article above are underlined hyperlinks that should forward you to areas of interest to you.

*****

Due to the legal and medical anti-physician environment in the USA, nothing written above can be supported or opposed by Dr. Schaller. He merely offers free ideas for you to discuss with your lawyer(s), physician(s), mold expert and local health department.



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