Cleaning up after a flood can pose health risks. You and your family should wait to re-enter your home until professionals tell you it is safe, with no structural, electrical or other hazards that may have occurred during the event.
Before you start clean-up activities, contact your insurance company and take pictures of your home and your belongings. Remember that drying your home and removing water damaged items is your most important step for preventing mold damage.
If your house has been flooded and you were not able to dry your home (including furniture and other items) within 24-48 hours, you should assume you have mold growth. You may see or smell mold on clothing, drywall, furniture, cardboard boxes or books. It may also be hidden under or behind items like carpeting, cushions or walls.
Exposure to mold can lead to asthma attacks, runny nose, eye and skin irritation, allergic reactions and in some cases a severe rash. It can lead to serious infections in people with weakened immune system, so it is crucial to ensure that mold clean-up is complete before occupying your home again.
Keep in mind that standard home owners insurance policies typically EXCLUDE damages caused by mold, fungi and bacteria, unless it is a result from a covered peril, such as a burst pipe.
For more information, download the Homeowner’s and Renter’s Guide to Mold Clean-up After Disasters, created by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and coalition of Federal Agencies: