From the authors of MOLD: The War Within

Top Hurricane Season Tip

01 Aug Top Hurricane Season Tip

If you live in a hurricane-prone area, get prepared now. Don’t wait until a hurricane is barreling down on your area, because the availability of water, food, supplies, and professional services will be hard to find at that point. If you currently have a hurricane heading your way, keep reading. There are important points you don’t want to miss.

Even seemingly obvious precautionary steps are often not taken by many people, so if you know someone living in a hurricane zone, please share my Hurricane Season Tip with them, especially if they are new to living in the potential path of a hurricane.

Time is of the essence

Be proactive. Fast forward in your mind to what you would do if a building you own (home or workplace) becomes water damaged from a hurricane. If your building does not have standing water in it, that is a good thing. The wet building materials will need to be removed and/or dried out ASAP. Be aware—mold will start to grow within 24-48 hours.

Certain non-salvageable (non-dryable) building materials will need to be torn out and removed. Questions you need to ask yourself: Can you do the work yourself? Do you have family or friends who can help you? Or who may be willing to do it for you? Do you have the tools and experience needed to do the tear-out and drying safely in a DIY fashion?

If the answers to these questions are “no”, then research water damage restoration contractors in your area. During regular, non-disaster times, they should be willing to answer questions you may have, and if not, they probably aren’t a good match for you. Make sure to ask for references and then check them out.

Do your research early

Identify 2-3 contractors experienced, licensed, and certified (based on your area’s requirements) who would be qualified to perform water damage restoration services for you should your structure become water damaged. These contractors become in short supply once a hurricane has hit an area and it has become a disaster zone.

Ask contractors if you can get placed on a post-hurricane service list and secure an estimated service time frame based on your place on the list. Taking this preparatory step will greatly increase your chances of getting your structure gutted (to the extent needed) and dried within the critical 24- to 48-hour period before mold starts to grow.

Call your top contractor pick as soon as you know your area is in imminent danger of a hurricane. Once the hurricane has made landfall and its effects subsided, even if you don’t see any visible water damage, you will want an experienced contractor to inspect your structure for potential damage to the roof (missing shingles, damage to flashing, etc.), windows (cracks, broken seals, etc.), and other potential areas of structural damage that could lead to future water damage.               

More information

For more information on structural mold and the health effects of mold and mycotoxins, see my book MOLD: The War Within. For leads to indoor air quality professionals in your area, search the directory at or call 877-251-2296.