Water, Mold, Fire & Storm Damage Restoration Educational Content
Flooding, whether it’s caused by a storm or a broken pipe, does a lot of damage very quickly. Under the right conditions, mold can start to grow within days or even hours. It’s important to start the drying and restoration process as promptly as possible. The response crew will extract the water and set up dehumidifiers and fans. Disaster recovery companies often offer mold remediation and emergency drying as well.
SMOKE AND FIRE DAMAGE
After a house fire is extinguished, the house and everything inside it are often badly damaged from exposure to heat, smoke, and water. Smoke can cause extensive damage. Repairing this damage requires the services of a skilled technician. Scorched areas, especially wood and drywall, are often not salvageable. Even items not directly touched by the fire can sustain heat damage. These items might be able to be restored. In some cases, however, they will need to be completely replaced.
At high enough speeds, wind can also cause significant damage around your house. High winds from tornadoes, hurricanes, and other strong storms can cause power loss and damage the outside of your house. A generator can get power to where it’s most needed. Disaster specialists will remove debris and repair damage to your roof and gutters.
BEFORE CALLING THE EXPERTS
Disaster recovery companies often offer emergency services 24 hours a day. This means that you can get help quickly. Since the details of your homeowners’ insurance coverage impact the restoration process, reach out to your insurance agent as soon as possible after a home disaster. Your insurance agent will explain what your policy covers and how much you can expect to pay out of pocket for repairs. He or she will probably arrange for an insurance adjuster to come to your house, assess the damage, and make recommendations for repairs. In some cases, your insurance company will provide you with a list of approved or preferred vendors to choose from. Your agent may even contact a disaster restoration company on your behalf.
Keep in mind that if you’re dealing with the aftermath of a large-scale natural disaster, your insurance company will probably be handling thousands of claims at once. It’s possible that they won’t be able to send an adjuster out to you immediately. Nonetheless, most insurance policies require you to prevent further property damage to your property in order to maintain your coverage. A disaster recovery company can help you meet this requirement. Let your insurance company and restoration team know if you have photos or videos of your belongings from before the disaster. This documentation may help with the accuracy of the claim and the restoration work.
DISASTER RECOVERY PROCESS
First, call emergency services if they’re needed, like in the case of a fire. Once any immediate danger has been taken care of, contact a disaster restoration firm. Damage from fire, water, or natural disasters can leave your house open to the elements, which only adds to the list of problems. The crew will first inspect your property. This step helps them determine what needs to be done most urgently. In most cases, the first priority is to cover any broken windows or holes in the roof and siding. Then, the crew will start removing standing water. They’ll do this with water-extraction tools, heavy-duty dehumidifiers, and industrial fans. This step is essential to preventing mold growth.
If fire or smoke damage has occurred, the next step will involve cleaning soot from all affected surfaces. Depending on the surface being cleaned, the technicians may use different detergents and cleaners. An alkaline cleaning solution, for example, neutralizes acids in soot-stained textiles. These items can then be washed as normal, in most cases. A contractor or structural engineer should assess the house to rule out structural damage. The technicians will then work on restoring your damaged belongings. The goal is to restore everything to as close to its predisaster condition as possible. The technicians will use a variety of cleaning agents and techniques depending on the item. If necessary, they will use antimicrobial treatments to sanitize. Water, smoke, and fire damage can cause unpleasant odors. The crew will bring in industrial air-scrubbing equipment to help remove these odors.
Once your damaged belongings have been restored, the final step in the disaster recovery process is returning your house to its predisaster condition. This can involve anything from a few simple repairs to major demolition and reconstruction. Regardless of how much work the restoration will require, a disaster recovery company will be able to help. Many companies offer packing and storage services. This means that if the restoration involves major construction, you won’t need to coordinate with a separate company to protect your belongings while the work is being done.
If water damage causes mold growth, a mold remediation specialist will isolate any infected areas. This prevents the spores from spreading to other parts of the house. Mold exposure can cause serious health problems, including respiratory difficulties and allergic reactions. Don’t try to clean mold by yourself. Contact a mold remediation specialist and stay out of contaminated spaces.
Verify that the mold remediation specialist you hire has the appropriate training. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends contacting professionals who are either affiliated with or certified by a professional organization. The American Council for Accredited Certification (ACAC), the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA), or the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) are a few common groups.
Some areas require licensed contractors to perform mold remediation services, so check your city or county regulations. Currently, there aren’t any regulations governing water damage restoration procedures. However, the IICRC has set standards that most companies follow. The IICRC S500 and S520 guides outline water damage and mold remediation procedures, respectively. More information on these standards is available from the IICRC website at www.iicrc.org.