How To Handle Flood Damage Cleanup for Your Business
Flood damage can close your business and cost you a lot of money. Learn about the kind of flood damage cleanup you should be aware of.
If your business is in a location that is prone to storms and heavy rainfall, there may come a day when you experience flood damage. This can result in high-cost, time-consuming cleanup. Thus, it’s important to know what kind of scenario you’re facing so you can be prepared for it.
Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about flood damage cleanup.
The Road to Recovery
Cleaning up flood damage isn’t as simple as grabbing a shop vac and removing all of the water from the interior. In some cases, the water could be so deep that it’s difficult to navigate. Flood water is full of contaminants that are unsafe to come into contact with, making the process even more difficult. The first step you should take is…
Contact Your Insurance Provider
If you live in a flood-prone location, it’s imperative that you have flood insurance. Once the storm has subsided and you’re able to enter the building again, contact your provider before you do so.
While your claim is being processed, you should then take as many photographs of the damage as you can in order to receive the maximum amount of compensation.
Before You Enter The Building, Call an Electrician
Even when the flood is over, the danger is still present. And, contaminated water isn’t always the only issue. Electrical hazards pose a serious threat to people returning to a flooded property.
Before you go inside your office, it’s imperative that all the electric and gas systems are turned completely off. Even if you have access to the systems’ controls, it’s best to hire an electrician to check the surrounding area and interior or you could face a serious risk of electric shock that could land you in the hospital (or worse).
Handling The Interior
Here’s where the not-so-fun part begins; otherwise known as the actual cleanup. When you can begin these steps depends on your situation and how much water is still in the flooded area. First, you’ll want to start with…
Furniture + Fabrics
All of the affected furniture and carpet must be removed from the building during cleanup. Unfortunately, there is a strong chance that anything saturated in flood water for an extended period of time will have to be thrown away. Any furniture that is porous will may have to be discarded due to becoming soaked with contaminated water.
If you wish to try and salvage carpet, you’ll need to make sure you dry it as quickly as possible in order to prevent mold from growing. Thorough cleaning with carpet shampoo and bleach is also a must. When drying furniture, direct sunlight can often cause the integrity to warp. So, you’ll have to let it air dry or use fans/dehumidifiers. Unfortunately, it may be weeks (or even months) before it’s back to normal.
Attempting to salvage walls is not an easy process. You’ll need to take the walls apart, remove any wet insulation, and attempt to dry them as quickly as possible in order to prevent mold.
Fans and dehumidifiers can help speed the process up, but it will likely take weeks before you’re able to put the walls back together. Cutting holes in the wallboard may also be necessary in order to drain any remaining water.
Until the water is removed from the flooded property, you won’t be able to work on the floors. But, even after the water is removed, you still have a significant task ahead of you. Depending on the type of material that you have (such as layered plywood), the floor may experience swelling. If this occurs, you’ll have to replace the affected segments, as you’ll lose stability in the floor.
Tile will only pose an issue if water has seeped into spaces between the material. If this occurs, you’ll most likely find yourself having to remove the tile so that any remaining water can dry. Concrete floors, however, should dry on their own without an issue.
Take Preventive Measures Against Mold
This is one of the most important steps that you can take, as mold can cause significant health issues over time if left unchecked. If you don’t have access to power yet, leaving doors and windows open can help speed up the process. If the affected area is a basement, however, there isn’t much you can do until you’re able to bring in fans.
If you find that mold has already begun to grow in your office, it’s important that you avoid spreading the spores while you clean. If furniture and other items are affected, wear a respirator and scrub them outdoors. This will ensure that you don’t breathe in any harmful substances and also prevents the spores from lodging into other surfaces.
Managing Flood Damage Cleanup Can Seem Difficult
But it doesn’t have to be. With the above information in mind, you’ll be well on your way to a successful flood damage cleanup and getting your business back on track as soon as possible. Want to learn more about disaster recovery? Make sure to check out the rest of our blog!