The Richmond Register

Local News

June 14, 2010

FEMA: Mold can be major threat to homeowners

RICHMOND — Even though the flooding from early May has subsided, homeowners should remain aware of the danger that lies underneath.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) representatives are alerting people to the problems created by the onset of mold.

“Mold can be a problem any time you’ve had moisture,” said Michael Skeels, public information office for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. “It becomes a major health risk. Mold grows very quickly if it isn’t dried out quickly and well ventilated.”

Molds are simple microscopic organisms found virtually everywhere, indoors and outdoors, according to information provided by FEMA.

Molds digest organic material, eventually destroying the material they grow on, and then spread to destroy adjacent organic material. In addition to the damage molds can cause in your home, they can also cause mild to severe health problems.

When molds are present in large quantities they can cause allergic symptoms similar to those caused by plant pollen.

Typical symptoms reported from mold exposure include respiratory problems (such as wheezing and asthma attacks), burning or watery eyes, nose or throat irritations, skin irritations like rashes or hives, and nervous system disorders such as headaches, memory loss and mood changes.

To remove mold effectively, FEMA suggests wearing a filter mask and gloves to avoid contact with the mold.

Remove all porous materials throughout the home, including ceiling tiles and wood products.

Carpet cannot be cleaned of mold by simply being dried.

“Carpeting can be a difficult problem,” the report states. “Drying does not remove the dead spores. If there is heavy mold, disposal of the carpet should be considered. Allow areas to dry two to three days before replacing damaged materials.”

Visit chfs.ky.gov/dph/info/phps/mold.htm to learn more about the dangers of mold and ways to clean and remove mold properly.

Skeels is just one of the FEMA representatives in Kentucky assisting those affected by the May 1 and May 2 severe flooding that covered the central Kentucky region.

A Richmond disaster relief location was opened in May at the Madison County Joint Information Center on S. Keeneland Drive.

Since opening, 366 Madison County residents have registered for federal assistance needed after flooding, and 4,846 people have registered across the state, Skeels said.

More than $14 million has been given statewide, he said.

Of that amount, $12.5 million has been issued for housing assistance, and $2.5 million has been awarded through Small Business Administration loans.

Call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) to register, then stop by the Madison County Joint Information Center at 558 S. Keeneland Dr. to register for FEMA flood assistance.

Ronica Shannon can be reached at rshannon@richmondregister.com or 624-6608.

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