ON THE GROUND – Rotary International team up with GlobalMedic and Town and Country to help get Grand Bahama residents back in their homes after Hurricane Dorian.
Freeport, Grand Bahama – Cognizant of the challenges some homeowners hit by Hurricane Dorian’s storm surge face, Rotary International District 6990, inclusive of all five clubs on Grand Bahama, recently launched its mold remediation program to assist in mitigating potential health risks.
In that vein, Rotary partnered with GlobalMedic, an internationally-known rapid response agency headquartered in Canada which specializes in humanitarian disaster response, and Town and Country, a local maintenance business that provides mold inspection and treatment.
The team went door-to-door beginning with homes in the Hawksbill subdivision and Rotary Volunteer Richard Halpern stressed the importance of carrying out inspections, testing, prophylactic cleaning and spraying.
“Even when one doesn’t see it, doesn’t mean its not there,” he said of possible mold infestation in homes that have been compromised. “Some of the frustrations that people are feeling, particularly this far into the disaster, is that we want to get back to normal.”
Safety, he insists, is priority for the Rotary Disaster Relief Committee and their partners.
“As painful as it is to not come in here and install sheetrock and do those things, we cannot put others at risk by not doing it right. So that’s why we partnered with GlobalMedic, they’re an international-known group who do very good things in 50-some odd countries all the time,” he said.
GlobalMedic Volunteer Robert Young said the first order of business in the mold remediation process is removing the mold-infested materials, drying out the homes and attacking the mold, which entails scrubbing down the wood and performing a chemical soaking that will kill the mold.
It is a process dozens of homeowners will have to undergo, one that is highly recommended before moving back in and something experts take very serious.
“Once it’s in there, it’s going to get worse and if it does get worse it’s going to become a health issue. If its bad enough that they have to tear everything out, they’d have to tear down the dry wall, the sheetrock, throw away the mattresses, anything that can absorb liquid because that’s where the mold is going to grow,” Young pointed out.
The teams moved through subdivisions like Hawksbill, Hudson Estates and smaller areas that were affected to get the program growing until additional partners join on. The more support and resources the program garners, the more crews can be added to clean the houses faster and get people back into their homes quicker.
Donnie and Mary Knowles, proprietors of Town and Country, are saddened about the devastation Hurricane Dorian has caused and count it a privilege to be a part of the recovery process.
Rotarian James Sarles acknowledged that their efforts to assist in getting residents back into their homes and making fresh drinking water available daily would not have been successful without the aid of a number of non-governmental organizations and sponsors like Equinor and others.