During recovery from flood, heed the advice of experts

Published 1:52 pm Friday, August 30, 2019

When it comes to flood clean up, listen to the experts.

In Friday’s edition of The Vicksburg Post, we published an article from the Mississippi State Extension Service that detailed safe ways to approach flood damage clean up and repair, both by hiring an outside contractor or opting to take care of it yourself.

The process of cleaning up and repairing structures and homes after a natural disaster like this year’s months-long flood is much different than cleaning up after a short-lived accident like a leaking air conditioner or roof that is quickly identified and repaired.

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Water that has been standing in the structure creates black mold that can be very harmful to those who ingest it, so items like N95 standard industrial masks, rubber gloves and rubber boots are needed to ensure the safety of those doing the clean up.

An important detail in that article was about the use of bleach — a common cleaner that is inexpensive to buy, but should not be your go-to for flood cleanup. Toxins in the product actually make the environment more harmful than if one uses other household all-purpose cleaners that are labeled as “mold control sprays.”

Local officials, such as Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace and Emergency Management Director John Elfer have been planning for months to ensure a safe process for residents in Eagle Lake and surrounding flooded areas to return to their homes.

Pace said his department would be vetting contractors that come into the Eagle Lake, helping to ensure no Warren County residents are taken advantage of by someone posing as a licensed contractor.

Always make sure a contractor you agree to work with is licensed and insured.

The bottom line is flood clean up is much different than everyday household cleaning, and should be treated as such. Before you start working on a damaged structure, head the experts’ advice.