The Aftermath: Storm Clean-Up Tips, Information

Assistance for Huntington Residents

Today, Friday, Sept. 9: Huntington residents only can get information in person at the county command post at the intersection of Huntington Ave. and Farrington Drive until 3:30 p.m.  Residents can also call 703-960-1917 until 8 p.m.

Eleven teams are inspecting properties in the Huntington area through this evening.  Houses that have been impacted will be inspected and marked to indicate status. Once inspections have been completed, teams will circle back to identify which permits are required for the property.

For information or questions about the inspections, Huntington residents only can call DPWES at 703-324-1930 or 703-324-1940, TTY 711.

Most permits can be applied for online.

Saturday, Sept. 10: A community information meeting will be held at Walt Whitman Middle School, 2500 Parkers Lane, Alexandria, in the lecture hall, starting at 9 a.m.  Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova and Mount Vernon District Supervisor Gerry Hyland will be in attendance.  Transportation will be provided from the Lee District RECenter shelter and the Huntington Community Center to the school.

Inspections will resume in Huntington on Saturday.

Saturday and Sunday: On-site assistance will be provided at the Huntington Community Center from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  The center can be reached at 703-960-1917. Information on inspections, insurance claims, permitting, contractors, emergency food and shelter and mental health counseling will be provided.

Fees Waived for Building Permits

To assist all residents, the county is waiving the fees for any building permits that are needed to repair or rebuild storm damage properties.

For more information, call the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services Permit Application Center at 703-222-0801, TTY 711. The center is located in the Herrity Building, 2nd floor, 12055 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax. Residents can call or visit in person on Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m.  to 4 p.m. and Friday from 9:15 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Mold Tips

If you experienced flooding related to the recent storms, the Fairfax County Health Department recommends taking precautions to avoid indoor air quality problems associated with mold.  Moisture that enters buildings from leaks or flooding accelerates mold growth.

Molds can cause disease, trigger allergic reactions and continue to damage materials long after the storm. Failure to control moisture and mold can present short- and long-term health risks.

To protect against health risks associated with mold:

  • Remove standing water from your home or office.
  • Remove wet materials.
  • If mold growth has already occurred, carefully remove or clean the moldy material.
  • Consider using personal protective equipment when cleaning or removing mold including gloves, goggles and an N-95 particle respirator (found at most local hardware stores).  Check with a health care provider before wearing a respirator.  Do not use a respirator if you have heart disease or chronic lung disease such as asthma or emphysema.
  • Individuals with known mold allergies or asthma should not clean or remove moldy materials.

Do not mix cleaners and disinfectants, as hazardous gases may produce hazardous chemical reactions.  Read and follow label instructions carefully. Open windows and doors to provide plenty of fresh air.

Clean-Up Tips

As the storm moves on, these tips can help keep you, your family and co-workers safe as you begin to put your home or business back in order:

Look before you step. The ground and floors could be covered with debris, including broken bottles and nails. Floors and stairs that have been covered with mud can be very slippery. When working in debris-strewn areas, be alert for shifting materials, holes and live electrical wires.

Turn off your electricity when you return to your home or business. Some appliances, such as television sets, can shock even after they have been unplugged. Don’t use appliances or motors that have gotten wet unless they have been taken apart, cleaned and dried.

Watch for animals, especially snakes. Small animals that have been flooded out of their homes may seek shelter in yours. Use a pole or stick to poke and turn items over and scare away small animals.

Be alert for gas leaks. Use a flashlight to inspect for damage. Don’t smoke or use candles, lanterns or open flames unless you are sure that the gas has been turned off and the area has been aired out. Carbon monoxide exhaust kills. Only use a generator or other gasoline-powered machine outdoors. The same goes for camping stoves. Fumes from charcoal are especially deadly — cook with charcoal only outdoors.

Clean everything that got wet. Flood waters pick up sewage and chemicals from roads, farms, factories and storage buildings.

When in doubt, throw it out. Spoiled food, flooded cosmetics and medicines are health hazards.

For more information and tips on cleanup safety visit: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/emergency/recover/cleanup.htm

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About the Author

Truman Lewis
A former reporter and bureau chief, Truman Lewis has covered presidential campaigns, state politics and stories ranging from organized crime to environmental and consumer protection.