Experts give tips on how to clean up after a flood

KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - Homes, businesses, and cars all quickly filled with water this week in Kearney. While the water is now gone, the big risk is mold.

Experts give advice on how to properly clean flood water out of a home. (KSNB)

“We have saturation, we have over ground water, we have sewage coming up through the plumbing pipes,” Yellow Van Cleaning Owner Dave Keiter said. “We want to make sure that all of that is removed. We've taken over 400 properties that have asked for help.”

Yellow Van has been able to take on about 95 of those calls, but are encouraging more contractors to step up and help fill the need. They ask that people make sure they have certification from the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration because there are things they have to do to make sure your home is fully clean. They also suggest to check to make sure they are licensed.

They said the biggest thing is people need to get basements and walls dry with humidifiers and fans. It only takes 24-48 hours for mold to start growing. Water can also seep into walls up to a foot above what the water line was.

“Let's not get in a big hurry to rebuild. Let's make sure we stabilize those living environments that the relative humidity is below 60%,” Keiter said.

Anything that is porous like carpet, dry wall, or paper have to be thrown away. They cannot be cleaned fully and will be at a big risk for contamination. Flood waters often have raw sewage, chemicals from fields, and even run off from feedlots.

The Two Rivers Public Health Department also says if you have a private well that was near flood waters it must be tested to make sure your water is clean.

As well as physical health, the health department says floods can be tough on people's mental health.

“One of the biggest areas we've been talking a lot about is just resilience and behavioral health. it is easy just the amount of stress people have been impacted to think there is no way I can recover from this,” Two Rivers Public Health Department Director Jeremy Eschliman said. “Just know there are lots of resources out there, there's a lot of people that are willing to help.”

Yellow Van and the health department will be at Builders in Kearney for a couple weeks to help direct people to the things they need to make their homes clean and safe.

For more information go to the Center for Disease Control:
https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/cleanup/facts.html