WORKING FOR YOU: Storm clean up - the right way - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

WORKING FOR YOU: Storm clean up - the right way

Posted: Updated:

While many Tri-State residents enjoy the pre-summer warm up, for the residents of Spencer, hit hard by flooding twice in one week, this warmth could threaten the health of homeowners there.

Thanks to the 80 degree temperatures following a heavy downpour, the heat is on for Roane county flood victims to get their homes cleaned up quickly.

"When you have the high humidity conditions that you have now, it's ideal for mold growth to occur," Bob Ritenour, owner of Rainbow International home restoration said.

"Consider flood water to be as contaminated as sewage water because it can bring a lot of debris in it," Retinour warns.  "Fertilizer, chemicals that are in the soil as well as actually bringing in the sewage."

This makes it critical to eliminate the threat of mold.  Step one, cut out all carpet, and dry-wall that has come in direct contact with flood waters and throw out any bedding that has been soiled as well.

15-year resident of Spencer, Kim Smith, watched a nearby creek breach its banks and enter her home twice in less than a week.  She says she and many of her neighbors are well aware of the constant threat of flooding, so many of them already know what to do following the recent natural disasters there in Spencer.

"All of the carpets are ripped up," Smith said.  "We just got rid of the mattresses as you can see outside."

Ritenour says the next step is pulling as much humidity out of the home as possible.

"The next step is to dry the wood that remains with commercial grade dehumidifiers and fans," he said.

He warns, however, that dehumidifiers built for consumers are nowhere near strong enough to handle the amount of work that comes with a flood.

"If you get the moisture content of the wood below 16 percent, it won't support mold growth," Ritenour said.

And just painting over flood damaged walls and hoping for the best will actually cause more harm  to your home and your health in the long run. 

Officials caution to always use gloves and a face mask, which you can find at any home improvement store and while extra sets of helping hands could make the cleanup easier, officials warn to keep kids away because they're more susceptible to airborne illness.