AMU Emergency Management Public Safety

Tropical Storm Cindy, Mold and Safeguarding Family Heirlooms

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This week Tropical Storm Cindy made landfall – creating a tremendous amount of flooding from the rain and the storm surge it brought with it.  There are so many emergency implications caused by major flooding and there are numerous points that must be considered when it comes to the flood waters.  From a public health stand point, major flooding has numerous medical implications as it can cause drownings and hypothermia – particularly if people do heed the warnings about dangerous flooding.  When the waters recede though, mold becomes the next emergency and needs to be re-mediated quickly. This will be an important consideration of emergency managers and local government officials to consider because of the numerous health hazards flood waters present to a community.

Flooding and Mold

It is shocking to see a street suddenly become a river because of major flooding. [link url=”” title=”During Hurricane Sandy”], flooding created extensive damage.

Flooding is devastating when it affects a home.  The water is never clean and brings with it mud and silt that will also destroy a home. Further, the sides of the home that contain drywall, plaster and other materials can become a breeding ground for mold creating potential health problems for inhabitants. In many respects, mold remediation needs to be done quickly and thoroughly as part of the rebuilding process following a major disaster event. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention [link url=”” title=”make several recommendations”] for entering a previously flooded home.

Homeowner Preparations for Major Flooding

Mold can be toxic and poses [link url=”” title=”numerous health risks”].  When flood waters enter a home, the water can create a breeding ground for mold. This is a reality that is often difficult for people to face, especially as they’re coming to grips with the reality that they will likely need to throw out a lot of their possessions because of the damage caused by the floods. For families with sentimental things, this can be particularly devastating. Thus, it is important that families prepare for the potential of floods particularly when a hurricane or tropical storm is in their path.

Storing Valuables

As Tropical Storm Cindy continues to move inland, there is still the potential for families to prepare appropriately.  Emergency managers are always urging citizens to effectively prepare for disasters by purchasing the right number of supplies in case they need to shelter in place. But, families should take appropriate measures to store their family heirlooms appropriately if they’re in the path of Tropical Storm Cindy. The [link url=”” title=”The Federal Emergency Management Agency”] recommends that citizens store valuables in such a way that they’re safe from flood waters. For example, making sure that photo albums are stored up off the floor and in plastic containers can help keep them safe from flood waters are simple measures that can protect a family’s prized possessions.

Many families have family heirlooms or items that are passed down from generation to generation. Antiques, family photos and letters are among some of the most prized possessions and simply cannot be replaced.  After a flooding emergency, it can be difficult to save these items from mold and it can be devastating for a homeowner to realize that they need to throw out these prized possessions if they have come in contact with mold.

Thus, it is important for homeowners to work to secure their valuables now. That way their valuables are safe should they have massive flooding from the storm.


Flood waters create serious havoc on a community for the amount of damage they create. More importantly though, flood waters will create the breeding ground for toxic mold that poses numerous health risks to the public. Homeowners should prepare for the potential of a flood by putting anything particularly valuable in containers that are waterproof, and are up off the floor. Further, should their home flood because of the storm, they should follow the recommendations of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to minimize health hazards associated with mold.

Passionate about the issues affecting ambulances and disaster management, Allison focuses on Emergency Management and Emergency Medical Services policy. Allison has taught at the undergraduate level since 2010. Prior to teaching, she worked in a level-one trauma center emergency department and for a member of Congress in Washington, D.C. She holds four master’s degrees in Emergency Management, National Security Studies, International Relations, and History; a Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security; and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Allison is an Emergency Medical Technician, Lifeguard, and Lifeguard Instructor, and is trained in Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue. She serves on the Board of Trustees for Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society as Chancellor of the Southeast Region, Vice Chair of the Tactical Emergency Medical Support Committee with the International Public Safety Association, and serves as the Advocacy Coordinator of Virginia with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians. She is also a member of several committees including the Editorial Committee with APCO, the Rescue Task Force Committee with the International Public Safety Association, and the Advocacy Committee with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians. She also serves as Chair of the Leadership Development Program for the 2020 Pi Gamma Mu Triennial Convention. Allison has published several book reviews and continues to write about issues affecting ambulances, emergency management, and homeland security.

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