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After Irene, Standards Assist in Hurricane Cleanup

As one of the largest storms to hit the United States in the past several years, Hurricane Irene led to the deaths of at least 27 people and billions of dollars in damage up and down the east coast. For the millions of Americans who are now tasked with cleaning up in her wake, ANSI offers a number of tips to help assure safety in the aftermath of a storm:

Return Home Only after Officials Have Declared It Safe
If an area has been evacuated, wait for officials to give approval before reentering your home. Once there, carefully assess the outside of the home for loose power lines, foundation cracks, or other visual evidence that reentry may be unsafe, and contact professional help if necessary.

Stay Prepared
The Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through November 30, is only half over, making it important for consumers to stay tuned for the latest weather alerts and information.

ANSI/CEA 2009-B-2010, Receiver Performance Specification for Public Alert Receivers, defines minimum performance criteria for consumer electronic products designed to receive SAME (Specific Area Message Encoding) alert signals broadcast by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Weather Radio network and Environment Canada's Meteorological Services of Canada Radio network.

The standard was developed by ANSI member and accredited standards developer the Consumer Electronics Association. CEA also has a product mark program used to identify radio receivers capable of automatically activating and alerting consumers when emergency messages are broadcast by the National Weather Service.

Take Pictures of Damage before Cleanup
Should you need evidence of damage caused by the hurricane for insurance claims, taking photographs before beginning any cleanup procedures is key. ANSI/I3A IT10.2000-2004, Photography - Digital still cameras - JPEG 2000 DSC profile, is an American National Standard (ANS) that specifies a profile of JPEG 2000 suitable for use in digital still cameras, allowing captured images to be properly transferred and read on a computer or photo printer. This standard was developed by the International Imaging Industry Association (I3A), a member and accredited standards developer of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

Wear Rubber Gloves and Boots during Cleanup
When coming in contact with floodwaters, it is important to wear waterproof garments on your hands and feet during cleanup procedures, as water may be contaminated.

Use Dehumidifiers and Fans to Eliminate Excess Moisture
Following the heavy rain and winds of a hurricane, many homes have excess moisture trapped inside. Running a dehumidifier or fan for several hours or days can help to get rid of this moisture, reducing the possibility of mold growth in the home. ANSI/AHAM DH-1-2003, Dehumidifiers, establishes a uniform, repeatable procedure for measuring the capacity and energy input of dehumidifiers under specified test conditions. This ANS was developed by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), an ANSI member and accredited standards developer.

Remove Wet Wallpaper, Drywall, and Insulation
Wet wallpaper, drywall, and insulation are a prime areas for mold to sprout and accumulate, and should be removed as soon as possible.

Scrub Interior Surfaces with Diluted Bleach after Flooding
Any interior surfaces in the home that have come in contact with floodwaters should be scrubbed thoroughly with diluted bleach or household cleaners containing bleach. ASTM D2022-89(2008), Standard Test Methods of Sampling and Chemical Analysis of Chlorine-Containing Bleaches, provides test methods for assessing these cleaners. This document was developed by ASTM International, an ANSI member and audited designator.

Hurricane damage must be taken very seriously. Contact a professional if you suspect your home has sustained structural or mold damage. For more information, see the CDC page on Floodwater after a Disaster or Emergency and the Red Cross Hurricane Recovery page.


Jana Zabinski

Director, Communications and Public Relations


[email protected]

Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


[email protected]