In August, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes (OLHCHH) re-released its guide, “Consumer Tips for Post-Disaster Home Restoration,” which describes what homeowners should do to return safely to their homes after a disaster. With recent major weather events such as Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, this information may be more useful than ever to your clients.
According to ASHI’s Washington lobbyist, Randy Pence, of Capitol Hill Advocates, although the HUD guide does not refer specifically to “home inspection” or “home inspectors,” it does advocate for homeowners affected by a disaster to obtain “professional inspections.” In this way, home inspectors can be a resource for anyone whose home is affected by a major event.
The Top 10 List below is part of the highlighted information that can be found in this HUD resource.
Note: HUD advises all consumers to read the entire publication before proceeding with any actions. For more information, visit www.hud.gov/healthyhomes. Check out this link to view or download this and several other resources that can help your clients.
HUD’s Top 10 Tips for Post-Disaster Home Restoration
- Remind yourself often to put people before property! Make safety your top priority.
- Wear personal protective equipment (PPE), including protective clothing and a NIOSH-approved respirator, every time you set foot in a damaged or moldy building.
- Assess structural stability and hidden hazards before you enter. A professional inspection may be needed.
- Prepare a plan for site work (supplies and methods), make a map (disposal and clean-up site layout), and review insurance policies and disaster assistance resources.
- Go slow when pumping out water, then act fast to dry out and remove mold. Read, copy and share the DIY Mold Removal Guidelines sheet from the Rebuild Healthy Homes guidebook.
- Always remove wet insulation and foam padding, even if the surface looks dry and clean.
- Assume lead-based paint and asbestos are in homes built before 1978 (unless verified not present). Be mindful that disturbing such materials increases the hazard.
- Control dust, capture debris and contain contaminants—with wet methods, drop cloths, debris bags, HEPA vacuums and workers trained in safe-work practices.
- Check credentials and hire only licensed and insured contractors, Lead-Safe Certified Renovators and certified asbestos professionals. Examine qualifications of mold remediation, fire and water damage restoration and other professionals. Check with your local contractor licensing agency, permit office and health department for requirements and lists.
- Restore for more than before! Install hazard-resistant materials, connectors and building systems. Include energy-saving and healthy home improvements.
Source: Consumer Tips for Post-Disaster Home Restoration: Getting Back to a Healthy Home, available online from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Home. Find this and other important resources for consumers at www.HUD.gov/healthyhomes.