Weather conditions in Charleston and the Lowcountry often put homes and businesses at severe risk for flooding, water damage, and subsequent mold contamination. After a major weather event (such as a hurricane or tropical storm) which has caused local flooding or exposed your home to significant rainfall and water intrusion, one of your first priorities should be to inspect your property for potential mold or sewage contamination. It goes without saying that either mold and sewage damage in your home or business can be extremely dangerous for your own personal health, as well as the health of your family or employees/co-workers, and there are a number of steps you can take immediately (especially with mold) to begin to repair flood damage and prevent mold spores from growing.
First Step: Safe Inspection
If you have evacuated or are returning home after major rainfall or flooding has occurred in your area, inspect as much of your home as possible from its exterior to make sure that there is no standing water in any of your rooms or your basement. If you see water – even a small amount – immediately turn off your electrical power. If there is standing water near your primary power switch, you should contact an electrician and have them make sure that it is properly turned off. Attempting to do this yourself, or wading into water that has any sort of close proximity to live electricity, can be life-threatening. Don’t take any chances.
Once you have ensured that you and your property are safe from an electrical hazard, you can reenter your home. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) you should automatically assume that your home has sustained some sort of mold damage if you have been gone for several days. This is even more likely if you closed or boarded your home up. Keeping this in mind, open as many doors and windows as possible and then exit your home. Wait outside for approximately 30-45 minutes before you begin to do anything further.