Whether it was caused by a hurricane, torrential rain, or a burst pipe – a flood can be a devastating experience for a property owner. Once the water recedes, you’re left with more than just wet furniture. Mud, outside debris, and soaking wet walls and flooring are just the beginning. If you’ve had the misfortune to experience a flood at your home or place of business, here’s what you should know about water damage restoration and what to do after a flood.
The first 24 hours are critical to water damage restoration
Like any other crisis management situation, the first 24 hours are critical to achieving the best outcome possible. You’ll need to work fast to manage the damage water has done to your property, including ensuring that your property is safe, making the right phone calls to a water restoration company and your insurance company, and taking steps to preserve any important items inside.
Safety, of course, is your first concern. Make sure that the power in your home or building has been turned off so that a shorting wire doesn’t electrocute someone or cause a fire. Yes, a fire is possible even in a flooded building! Even if the power inside the building is not functional, go ahead and turn off the electricity at the main breaker box. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Also, look for any structural damage inside the building. A cracked foundation, warped walls, or sagging ceiling may mean that the building’s structural integrity has been compromised, and the building may not be safe. Always err on the side of caution. Stuff can be replaced. You can’t!
If you have any reason to believe that the gas, electrical, water, or other utility lines running to your property have been damaged in the flood, call the utility companies right away.
Removing water from your building
Once the immediate danger is over and your insurance company has given you permission to start your water damage restoration procedures, your first step is to start removing water from the inside of your building.
Depending on the amount of water that’s left in your building, you can buy a sump pump from your local hardware store (for bigger jobs) or use a wet/dry vac for smaller jobs. Depending on the situation, you may spend several days removing water from your property if you choose to DIY the process. Don’t want to wait days and do all that work? Call in a water damage restoration specialist. With professional-grade equipment, they can typically rid your property of excess water in a day or less. The speed at which you’re able to remove water and dry your property is extremely important, as you’ll see in the next step.
Get ahead of mold ASAP
After a flood, mold can start to develop in as little as 24 hours. Mold is THE enemy #1 when it comes to water damage restoration. Mold can ruin anything it takes a foothold in, and it can hide in places you can’t see, causing ongoing health problems for you, your family, and your workers. That means you have to act fast if you want to salvage any valuable or sentimental items from your property.
Plush furniture like couches often need to be thrown out, because they can’t be dried effectively. But smaller items like clothes, rugs, and solid wood furniture can be salvageable if they’re simply wet, not damaged. Dry the items as effectively as you can, as fast as you can, to prevent the growth of mold.
For mold in the structure of the building itself, do not take the risk of trying to DIY. During a flood, water will seep into your walls, flooring, insulation, molding, etc – all places that are nearly impossible to totally dry before mold growth begins without professional help. For drying the structure itself, call a water damage restoration specialist. A professional company can not only dry your structure, but can replace any materials that are damaged beyond repair and keep you safe from the long-term effects of toxic mold post-flood.