Water can be very destructive. A minimal water leak could cause frustration and become a big problem. Imagine something even more significant, like a major flood or devastating fire. The draining effects of water damage can take a toll on your business or home. Would you be ready?
If this happens in your business would you put it on hold? Or even worse, close the doors? Employees would no longer have jobs and incomes, customers would find other providers, revenues would rapidly shrink and the reputation of your business could be forever forfeited.Maybe you don’t worry about it so much. After all, you have a maintenance team or you know a guy that knows a guy. Think again. In most cases, your insurance company will require you to seek the advice and service of a professional restoration team to repair the damage.
The first 14 to 36 hours are important, you shouldn’t wait longer to take action. Having a solid emergency disaster plan already in place is really the best and most responsible thing that you can do.
Where Do You Start?
You have to know that this is not an easy thing. What should you do? Where to find help? To prevent any further damage, it’s important that you know the basics of water damage.
This is what you have to do at first if you have water damage at home or businesses:
- HEALTH & SAFETY
Protecting the health and safety of those in or near the building is always your first priority. Because of possible contamination, it is important to follow all safety procedures and erect safety barriers to keep unauthorized people away from affected areas. Anyone authorized to be in the affected area should wear appropriate Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) such as hard hats, masks, safety glasses, etc.
- CONTAINING THE DAMAGE
If it is safe to do so, search for the source and stop it if possible. If the water source cannot be stopped, try to channel the flow of water into storage tanks or drains outside of the building. Keep in mind that there may be certain health codes and regulations for disposing of Category 2 and 3 water.
- PREVENTING CROSS-CONTAMINATION
Prevent further contamination to the building by sealing off affected areas if it is safe to do so.
If contamination is caused by Category 2 or 3 water, health and environmental issues such as air quality and bacterial contamination will need to be considered.
You may also need to isolate or shut off HVAC systems to prevent the spread of contaminants.
- SALVAGING WHAT YOU CAN
Is it possible to save any materials in the building? Would it be more cost-effective to keep them or replace them? Can anything be restored back to its pre-loss condition? Yes, no and maybe.
There may be materials with limited damage that can be dried, saved and re-used. Some may require a great deal of cleaning and sanitizing, while others will end up being a total loss.
Hygroscopic materials (insulation, wood framing, drywall, hardwood and laminate floors, cabinets, and paper wall coverings, for example) rapidly absorb moisture. You must determine what can be salvaged vs. what needs to be replaced.