Improving IAQ In Schools Following Natural Disasters
A few weeks ago, Hurricane Sandy tore through the East Coast, destroying neighborhoods and causing severe damage for millions of Americans. As the rebuilding process begins, EPA's Office of Radiation and Indoor Air staff are committed to equipping communities with the tools and knowledge needed to ensure that indoor environments in schools are safe before students, teachers and staff members return. The aftermath of any natural disaster, including a hurricane that causes extensive flooding, can create widespread health problems that are especially dangerous for children.
EPA's Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Tools for Schools resources can be helpful to schools and school districts as they clean-up buildings after a natural disaster. These resources help school staff identify and resolve most IAQ problems in schools with minimal cost and effort.
Resources to Help Clean-Up Schools:
Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings
Mold growth can be a big problem after extensive flooding. Exposure to mold can cause allergic reactions and other adverse health effects, which can affect student and staff health. The key to mold control is moisture control. After flooding has occurred, remove standing water and dry indoor areas. Remove and discard anything that has been wet for more than 24-48 hours. This document presents guidelines for the remediation and cleanup of mold and moisture problems in school and commercial buildings.
Environmental Contaminates in Schools
When school buildings are damaged during natural disasters, special measures need to be taken to ensure common environmental contaminants, including lead, asbestos, chemicals and mercury, are properly cleaned up before students return to school. Use EPA's guidance on common environmental contaminates to learn more about these concerns.
Managing Asthma in the School Environment
IAQ in schools has a major impact on asthma and other respiratory illnesses, which is why it's important to address asthma triggers in schools during the clean-up process.
IAQ Tools for Schools Action Kit
The Action Kit contains checklists that can be used by facilities and maintenance staff, administrators, teachers and others to address IAQ issues that often occur after natural disasters. Checklists may be downloaded in PDF formats or MS Word formats, and can be tailored to meet the needs of individual schools.