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Summer Storm Season

Spring is Right Around the Corner – Is Your Firm Ready for Storm Season?

Severe flooding is one of the most devastating natural disasters for a home or business owner because of the level of destruction it creates. Not only do floods destroy property, they bring contaminants into the home, making it unsafe and unlivable until properly inspected and cleaned.

To help your spring flooding season efforts, the IICRC has prepared a quick-reference guide of flood cleanup tips:

  1. Use Caution. Prior to entering any storm or flood-damaged building, be wary of structural integrity and other safety hazards such as falling debris or shock hazards. Make sure to shut off all electricity in the affected areas, even if the electricity is down, as it is oftentimes restored without notice. Small animals or reptiles may also seek shelter inside a structure, so be cautious when repositioning contents or removing materials.
    Also, make sure to use the proper personal protective equipment and try to stay out of floodwaters as much as possible to further reduce the risk of injury. Items such as protective clothing, sturdy shoes, gloves, eye protection and even an organic vapor respirator (paint respirator) can protect you from exposure to dangerous microorganisms that can grow quickly.
  2. Work quickly. Even though it can take mold a few days to appear, anything that can be done to control or minimize its speed of growth is vital. Mold thrives in moist environments with stale air, organic food sources (paper, wood, etc.) and temperatures between 68° F and 86° F. To reduce these risks, keep air moving by opening windows and doors. Fresh air discourages the growth of mold and other microorganisms and can also help reduce inhalation risks.
  3. Clean and disinfect. Remove and dispose of all, wet porous components such as mattresses, pillows, molding, insulation and portions of damaged walls. This also includes floor coverings such as carpet, pads, laminate, tile and sheet vinyl. Open pockets of saturation by removing base molding and portions of damaged walls and wet insulation. Locate the water line and measure 15 to 20 inches above it. Everything below that should be removed and discarded. Wood flooring should also be removed to expose wet saturation pockets underneath and allow for proper drying, cleaning and sanitizing. Other items such as wet clothing, furniture and household fabrics can usually be salvageable after a hot machine wash, a lengthy detergent soak and the liberal use of a disinfectant solution.
    Structural areas such as wall cavities, studs and other fixtures will also need to be properly disinfected. This can be done by pressure washing with detergent solutions working from top to bottom.
  4. Dry it out. The next step is to allow the space to dry thoroughly before reconstruction. This is possibly the most difficult step, because even if a surface feels dry to the touch, that doesn’t mean it is. To prevent dry rot and ongoing structural damage, don't reconstruct or cover wood materials until its moisture content falls below 16 percent. Beginning your reconstruction before your space is thoroughly dry can cause ongoing structural damage and negative health effects.

Education is essential to the proper restoration of a flood-damaged facility. Water damage restoration requires specialized training in cleaning, biocides, extraction, drying and moisture measuring. Before spring flooding season strikes, make sure your technicians are up-to-date in their relevant certifications. Click here to locate an IICRC-certified school or course in your area.

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