June 28, 2013

How You Can Best Help Yourself Post-Flood

It is a busy time for restoration companies right now in southern Alberta. You may find it challenging to get into the cue for assistance.

Your first step is to contact your insurance company. With an assigned claim, your restoration contractor will move as quickly as possible to help mitigate your loss and begin the restoration process. Your second step is to do things to help yourself before professional help arrives.

Whether you have insurance or not but assistance is taking longer than you’d wish, here are a few pointers to make your situation better once a restoration team arrives.

Important Note: Every property is different and we are unable to give specific advice without seeing your site. We can’t accept any liability relating to things you may do as a result of reading this blog. We advise that you should always use a professional when you don’t have the specific knowledge to perform a task.

  • Photo document what is there before you begin any work. This will be important to show the nature of the loss and to have evidence of what existed (finishes, materials etc) before the damage occurred.
  • Use Caution: treat the flood-affected areas of your home/building/property as contaminated
  • Wear rubber boots, rubber gloves, eye protection, respiratory protection and water resistant coveralls if possible before handling or moving water-affected materials.
  • The longer you wait and allow water to stand in your home or building, you increase health risks related to bacteria or mould carried in by the river floodwaters.
  • We highly recommend that persons at risk (young children and the elderly) be isolated from the flooded area to avoid exposure to potential illness causing contaminants.
  • If the building is primarily flood water-free, inspect the foundations for cracks or other damage before entering.
  • Once inside your building, check walls, floors, doors and windows to assess that the building is not in danger of collapse
  • Isolate the affected/potentially contaminated area from the unaffected area. Use poly taped over doorways between spaces, if available.
  • Destroy any contaminated food and check first to see if your well or public water source is safe to drink/use. This could include cereals, flour, packaged foods, canned goods (if damaged or leaking), bottled drinks and foods as contamination could seep under the edge of the cap.
  • To prevent fires or dangerous short circuits, inspect all wiring and check electrical safety with your local energy provider, before use.
  • If there is a forced air furnace it should be turned off until the affected area can be cleaned and disinfected.
  • Do not use fans or air movement to start the drying process until the areas have been isolated, cleaned and disinfected.
  • Washing affected areas with a solution of one part household bleach to ten parts water are good to remove mould and mildew.
  • Mould and bacteria thrive in moisture and warmth. Open all windows and allow your building air out and decrease humidity right away.
  • ALWAYS wash and disinfect your hands and avoid touching your mouth or eyes while working with potentially contaminated items.
  • Ensure that you clean the affected items before you move them to an unaffected area otherwise you may cross contaminate this new environment.
  • If moving furniture is not an option, block up all furniture (metal buttons on the bottom of legs can cause rust and damage to flooring and water will continue to be absorbed causing possible un-restorable damage.
  • Tin foil, plastic or Styrofoam are preferred blocking materials. Avoid using wood, metal, pained or coloured materials as wet surfaces tend to bleed which may cause unnecessary damage.
  • Ensure there is safe water supply and adequate sewage disposal system in operation.
  • Flooding usually does not seriously affect septic tanks but double check before use.

Please be assured that On Side is working as expeditiously as possible to make you our next customer. We wish you safety and good weather as you work through this challenging time.

Please Note: these TIPs are professionally-informed suggestions only. On Side Restoration does not take any responsibility for any issues that may potentially arise out of your action by following the above direction. It is important to always use caution and treat any affected environments and/or materials as contaminated. Always proceed with caution.