In the water damage and restoration section we listed briefly on the responsibilities of a professional company when it comes to a flooded building. Now it is time to take a deeper look on the actual remediation process which starts after the water has been drawn out and before we clear the building as safe for use again.
First we must explain the four levels of water damage:
Level 1: Is the least amount of water that made it inside the house or the office building and the damage it caused is limited to only a part of a room or to an area where whatever was inside absorbed only very little moisture. The carpets and the pillows have also absorbed minimal amounts of water or none at all. This is the case when an intervention from a professional emergency company to stop an impending flood is done in a timely manner, or if the source of the problem is not a great one.
Level 2: This time large amounts of water made it inside, the damage has affected at least an entire room, carpets and pillows have absorbed a lot of water and the walls have been wicked up to 24”. Structural materials (plywood, concrete, particleboards, etc…) have retained moisture and must be dried.
Level 3: This is a tough one as most of the times it means almost complete destruction of the household or office equipment. The entire house or office building has been saturated with water, the walls have been wicked above 24” and everything has absorbed a fair amount of moisture. Especially if the flooding came from overhead, ceilings may have been affected and the damage may extend to areas underneath the floors. This level of damage usually takes the longest to clean up and allow for a re-entry into the premises.
Level 4: This is actually the hardest of them all as it involves deep pockets of saturation that lay hidden and must be uncovered and cleared. It doesn’t take long to clear this kind of damage but it can take quite a while to uncover all the hidden spots.
The first thing to do is to take out of the affected area every piece of equipment either affected by the flood or not. The reason why documentation is absolutely necessary is because we are talking about every single piece from an electric oven to the smallest decorative artifact and they must all be accounted for in the end.
Out of this equipment, everything that is deemed as unsalvageable is disposed of and a protocol of disposal is compiled to document the value of this equipment which should be compensated in full by your insurance company. Materials that can be salvaged but at a cost that exceeds the value of buying new ones also fall under this category and are disposed of, unless otherwise instructed by the owner of the building or the equipment for reasons of sentimental value.
Every piece of equipment that is deemed salvageable is dried, sanitized, deodorized and stored until it can be repaired or re-instated in its proper form. The greatest difficulty in this process is presented by books and works in paper in general, as it is the hardest material to put back in order especially if the ink on the page has been smeared.
The next step is to carefully inspect the premises for the reasons of the flooding and whether any damage has been incurred in the structural integrity or the electrical installation. Usually the wires are covered by insulation and enclosed in tubes but this does not preclude the possibility of the outlets being affected, the general switch panel short circuited, or any piece of wiring inside the wall immersed in moisture. This last case is especially sensitive as shortcuts may create fires. For this process probes and infrared equipment is being used to make sure that the damage has been located and that after all repairs have been completed there is no possibility of a repeat occurrence.
Next comes the drying process. All structural materials must be completely dried and any mold that has been formed removed. To this end, other pieces of equipment like air movers, dehumidifiers, sub floor drying equipment, air scrubbers and wood drying equipment is used. The process may take a few days depending on the level of flooding and the amount of moisture absorbed.
When this is done, it is not yet time to tell you that it is OK to re-enter the premises and live or work in it. We must allow at least 3 or 4 days for things to settle down before a new careful and diligent inspection is made. If the criteria set for safety are met then every piece of equipment is removed from your premises along with any debris. And then you will get from us the go ahead signal meaning that everything is safe.
It is clear and evident that this entire process is not to be carried out by amateurs or people that do not know what they are doing. There are human lives involved and health issues that are of the utmost importance and priority to be observed. Our personnel has always been known for working to the highest of standards of safety and sanitation as attested by the reviews of our clients. And this is what you get if you call (818) 584-2988 and ask to receive the services of Emergency Flood Team Encino.