MIDDLEBURY-For residents along Lake Champlain, the past few months have been hell. Rising water has forced full-time residents from homes and summer camp owners will find their vacation retreats under water.
Local residents who need help in dealing with flooded houses and camps can look to a group of volunteers fanning out in the area. The Vermont chapter of the organization known as Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) is available to help homeowners in flood recovery work.
VOAD is a national organization whose purpose it is to assist homeowners after a disaster at no cost to flood victims.
The volunteer assistance comes through trained and certified volunteers who not only provide labor to remove mud from any level of the home; remove and sort both regular and hazardous debris; remove effected sheet rock and insulation; but also lend expertise at mold and mildew reduction or elimination.
It is extremely important for property owners of flooded homes or buildings to understand the dangers of mold and mildew after a flood. It will become hazardous unless dealt with by very specific methods.
"Homeowners believe mopping up and running a dehumidifier is all that is necessary and weeks later find the presence of mold and mildew."according to Bill Elwell, United Methodist Committee on Relief, one of the volunteer groups donating labor to the Champlain Valley. "Help and information is available through us and other VOAD organizations to do this safely and properly."
Elwell said his church group along with VOAD has been working over the past few weeks gathering and assessing information in order to prioritize areas that have the greatest need.
"If you have already called 2-1-1 to report damage, VOAD has your information so there is no need to report that damage again. Priority will be given to those most in need as determined by VOAD," Elwell said.
Homeowners are being contacted by phone to follow up their calls to 2-1-1 for assistance. Appointments will be made with assessors who will come to the home and then assign work crews according to need.
For more information on VOAD please visit http://www.nvoad.org/or contact Elwell, the United Methodist Committee on Relief District coordinator, at 802-349-3028.