At times, water intrudes into a building so quickly that it must be responded to as an emergency. Broken water lines, gaping holes in the roof or walls during rainstorms (or hurricanes), or rising water tables may cause severe wetting or structural damage. To avoid fungal growth on susceptible materials, it is important to dry them quickly. (HIGH TEMPERATURE DRYING IS THE FASTEST WAY TO DRY) Porous materials can absorb and retain a great deal of water. If nutrients are readily available in the material itself or in collected dust, visible fungal growth can occur within a few days of wetting. Recent research indicates that common construction materials may contain mold spores when they arrive from distributors and that some of the spores will germinate if exposed to relative humidity (RH) of 95% for extended periods (22–60 days); if they are wet with water, germination can occur in less than 5 days.
Interventions to prevent continuing wetting and to dry out a building out should be chosen appropriately for the nature of the water source and the wet materials. Emergency actions may include turning off the water main, repairing pipes, temporarily closing holes in roofs or walls, pumping water out of buildings, unclogging drains, vacuuming water from materials in buildings, and actively dehumidifying buildings, rooms, or cavities. Appropriate worker protection may be necessary, depending on the source of the water, for example, flood water must be considered septic.
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