Date: October 1, 2010
TAKE THESE STEPS TO PREVENT MOLD AND SAFETY HAZARDS
Water intrusion creates a variety of health and safety risks for families. Flooding and leaks are a leading cause of mold growth in
homes. Flooding also puts water in dangerous proximity to electricity, creating risk of electrical shock. Delaware's Division of
Public Health offers the following recommendations to head off this growing problem.
- Check outside cellar walls for possible cave-ins, evidence of structural damage or other hazards. Consider hiring a licensed
structural engineer to evaluate your residence.
- Run dehumidifiers and empty the water pan frequently, or empty directly to a sump pump, to lower the humidity and help prevent
mold and odors.
- Open doors and windows or use blowers to force in fresh air to remove odors once the home is dry.
- Do not use an electric pump powered by your own electrical system. Use a gas-powered pump or one connected to an outside power
source. Fire departments in some communities may help with such services. Ventilate the area to prevent build up of carbon monoxide
- Before beginning clean-up, protect yourself with an N95 respirator, gloves and eye protection, available at most hardware
- After water has been pumped from the basement, shovel out the mud and debris while it is still moist. Hose down walls to remove
as much silt as possible before it dries. Floors and walls may need sanitizing, particularly if sewage has entered the basement.
Scrub walls and floors with a 10 percent bleach solution or other comparable commercially available disinfectant.
- Oil stains in basements caused by overturned or damaged oil tanks may be a problem following flooding. Call a professional to
remove oil residue.
- Dealing with garbage and sewage can be challenging. If toilets aren't working, use portable units. Beware that sewage can
backflow through floor drains into basements. Clean with a disinfectant. Never mix ammonia and chlorine bleach, which produces
poisonous chloramine gas. After coming into contact with sewage or floodwater, wash your hands well and use a brush to clean under
These precautions will make your clean up tasks safer and keep you healthy.
For more information or other public health concerns, contact the Division of Public Health at dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dph/hsp/healthyhomes.html
Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health
and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.