Mold and other hazards pose safety concern for flood-impacted homes
RAPID CITY, S.D. — As flood-impacted residents begin returning to their homes in the coming days, mold and other hazards are a serious concern.
It’s important to take precautions in order stay safe and mitigate the damage.
Homes that have been affected by flooding may be contaminated with both sewage and mold, so residents need to make sure they’re wearing proper attire that will protect their eyes, nose, mouth and skin.
Exposure can lead to skin rashes, infections, allergies and exacerbate asthma and breathing problems. Those entering homes that have been flooded should wear rubber boots, rubber gloves, a face mask and goggles.
Additionally, electricity and gas should be shut off to avoid fires and electrocution. Power shouldn’t be turned on until an electrician has fully inspected the home.
Residents are recommended to open all doors and windows to help air out the house. Once electricity is safe to use, fans and dehumidifies can also help remove moisture.
Any items in the house that can’t be cleaned and dried within 24 to 48 hours should be discarded.
Homeowners should photograph discarded items and flood damage to the house for insurance purposes.
Many residents will have questions about what damage is covered by insurance. Most homeowner, renters, condominium and farmowner insurance policies don’t cover flood damage. Instead, flood insurance is administered through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This is because private insurance companies generally lose money on providing coverage for flooding.
For more information about flood insurance you can visit the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation’s flood insurance page, and also view this list of frequently asked flood disaster and insurance questions.