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Emergency Management

Posted on: September 21, 2023

20 years after Isabel: What to do about home damage


Sept. 21, 2023 - Hurricane Isabel’s combined impacts of wind, rain, and storm surge resulted in widespread debris and flood damage.  Post-storm clean up was difficult and time-consuming for many residents and resulted in a variety of health hazards including the potential for mold growth from flood waters.  

The magnitude of natural debris (trees) and damaged household items requiring collection and disposal presented a significant challenge.  


  • Assess for possible life-threatening hazards such as fallen power lines and gas leaks.  If uncertain, seek professional guidance.
  • Wear protective equipment such as gloves, safety glasses, rubber boots, and masks to protect you from debris and airborne particles like mold and dust.
  • Use caution or seek professional assistance when removing fallen trees, cleaning up debris, or using equipment such as chainsaws.
  • Clean and disinfect everything that got wet.  Mud and floodwater can contain sewage, bacteria and chemicals. For additional information on post-flood mold issues, visit Homeowner’s and Renter’s Guide to Mold Cleanup After Disasters | Mold | CDC
  • Discard saturated porous materials such as mattresses or upholstered items, especially those with visible fungal growth.
  • People who are pregnant, have asthma or other lung conditions, or have a compromised immune system as well as children should not enter indoor areas with water leaks or mold growth that can be smelled.  Children should not be involved in disaster clean-up work.  
  • Take photos of all damage and contact your insurance provider.
  • For additional information on recovering from a disaster, visit Recovering from Disaster |

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