The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness continues 24 hour operations in response to the massive flood event still impacting much of the state. This dangerous situation is not over. Rescue operations continue is some areas.

“This disaster is impacting the state in phases, much like the first flood that struck the state in March.,” said GOHSEP Director Jim Waskom. “We continue to support our local partners with their flood fighting efforts. We have also started the recovery process in areas where that is possible. Louisiana has received a Federal disaster declaration. If you have been impacted by the flood, register your damage with FEMA at DisasterAssistance.gov or call (800) 621-FEMA. Do not wait for an insurance settlement to register. Please be aware of the dangers that remain due to the high water and changing road conditions.”

If you are able to safely start cleanup of your home or business, there is some important information you should know.

The basic rule is, if you can see or smell mold, take steps to eliminate the excess moisture; then, cleanup and remove the mold by:

• Using a non-ammonia soap or detergent and hot water or a commercial cleaner.

• Thoroughly scrubbing all contaminated surfaces (using a stiff brush to clean masonry walls) with the soap or detergent. Use an excessive amount of cleaning solution for best results.

• Rinsing clean with water.

After cleaning, apply a disinfectant solution of household bleach (one-fourth cup bleach per gallon of water) to the surface. If the mold has already started to grow back, try a stronger solution: one-half gallon bleach in five gallons of water. A bleach solution should be applied with a handled garden sprayer. Thoroughly wet the studs, wall

cavities and floors. Avoid excessive run-off. Use a wet-dry vacuum to collect extra bleach solution. Allow the bleach solution to dry naturally for a six- to eight-hour time

period. The bleach solution should not be removed or dried quickly - extended contact time is important.

Safety tips:

• Never mix bleach with ammonia: the fumes are toxic.

• Wear eye protection and rubber gloves.

• Ventilate the working area well by opening doors and windows and using fans.

Molds can infiltrate Sheetrock, carpeting and insulation. When working around moldy areas, use respiratory protection. Individuals vary in their susceptibility to these

substances, but almost anyone who breathes enough spores will have an adverse reaction. These reactions can include tightening in the chest, flu-like symptoms or even

more severe reactions.

Remember, do not wait for visits from FEMA or insurance adjusters before cleaning up

flood damage and starting repairs. FEMA provides assistance to all eligible applicants.

Renters may qualify for assistance too.

Find more tips on weather and preparedness on GOHSEP’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. You can receive emergency alerts on most smartphones and tablets by

downloading the new Alert FM App. It is free for basic service. You can also download the Louisiana Emergency Preparedness Guide and find other information at GetaGamePlan.org.