Hurricane Michael Helpful Tips
You've just been cleared to return to your home or business and find it severely damaged by Hurricane Michael floodwaters.
Provided below is a list of self-mitigation strategies to limit losses until professional help arrives provided by the IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, Restoration and Certification, a nonprofit standards-setting and credentialing body for the inspection, cleaning and restoration industry.
In order to reduce damages, once floodwaters recede it's important to act quickly. Before you enter your home or business you should check for electrical hazards and structural damage and use proper protective gear like boots, gloves and respirators. Make sure to check for hazardous materials like lead paint and asbestos before starting any construction or repairs. Check out the complete list below.
- Act quickly. The longer the water sits and building materials remain wet, the more severe the damage becomes. Mold can grow within 48-72 hours, so it is best to start removing water and begin drying the structure as soon as possible.
- Ventilate affected areas to prevent mold growth. Mold lives off of moisture and organic materials such as paper or particleboard. You can help prevent damage by opening windows if the weather allows it and maintain moderate temperatures inside the structure.
- Assess damage to items and materials. Clarify the type of water that caused the damage such as rainwater, water from broken pipes, contaminated river water or bacteria-filled sewage when you are salvaging items. The IICRC recommends items that were in contaminated waters such as sewage water or river water be thrown out of disinfected by a professional remediator.
- Take photos. It can be extremely helpful for insurance purposes if you take photos before you begin working, while you are working, and once work is complete. Also, if you are going to throw contaminated items away these items should be documented with photos.
- Expose pockets of saturation. Hidden and concealed pockets of water, such as in layers between building materials, need to be opened for cleaning and drying. For example, wet carpets are typically dried by professionals with industrial fans and dehumidifiers. However, carpet padding acts as a big sponge and should be discarded. Hardwood floors and wooden trim can also be saved if they are dried properly on both sides. Be sure to check out concealed cavities such as behind walls, in mechanical spaces, under cabinets and furniture, and in crawl spaces.
- Conduct a thorough cleaning. Durable, non-porous materials, such as studs and joints, hardwood flooring and vinyl products, can be cleaned with common cleaning products or specialized products with detergents. After a careful and thorough cleaning of salvageable materials, a disinfectant solution may need to be applied in case of harmful bacteria from sewage, river water debris or even standing water that has gone bad. If vacuuming, use a HEPA-filter vacuum to remove allergens, fine dust and spores.
- Confirm drying before reconstruction. In order to prevent dry rot and structural damage, it's important not to reconstruct or cover wood and other wet materials until the moisture content has been adequately reduced. A water restoration professional can confirm proper drying before reconstruction.
For more information, call your local IICRC Certified Firm, SERVPRO of Quincy, at 217-223-2993.