Health and safety concerns when cleaning up after flood damage

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Experts recommend starting clean up work the sooner the better (KTRK)

When the water is gone, health and safety concerns follow for those cleaning up what's left behind.

Once the damage is done it can be overwhelming. But before any cleanup starts, FEMA suggests you document everything with pictures. This gives insurance adjusters a first-hand view of what the damage looked like.

Make sure to wear protective gear over your nose and mouth. Floodwater can contain everything from insecticides to bacteria. An N-95 respirator mask is best according to the EPA. Long pants and work shoes are also recommended.

The sooner the work begins the better. Mold spreads very quickly. Water damaged areas should be removed within 48 hours. Bring in fans in to dry things out once this wet carpet is pulled out. The pad below that carpet should also be tossed.

Wall removal is next. If a room has six inches or more of water, baseboards should be removed and wallboard cut out four feet from the floor, insulation torn out behind.

Finally clean up with a 10 percent bleach solution on hard surfaces. Leave it on the contaminated areas for at least 10 minutes before wiping away.

PHOTOS: Images of flooding around Houston area
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