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Useful Tips: Dealing with Water, Wind and Fire Damage

Jul 1, 2013

Water

• The quicker the water damage can be attended to, the better the results. Begin the mitigation process — the process that includes the extraction, dehumidification and drying that is critical – as soon as possible.
• Untreated, water can be a serious threat to contents and the structure.
• Raw sewage and flood waters contain bacteria and other micro organisms that are extremely hazardous to the occupants’ health. Quick action is extremely important!
• Treat wet surfaces and furnishings as toxic until properly decontaminated.
• Do not track contaminated material into undamaged areas.
• Do not attempt to decontaminate surfaces with sprays and other over-the-counter germicidal products, which may or may not fully disinfect contaminated surfaces.
• Stay out of areas where ceilings are sagging from retained water.
• In summer, turn on the AC; in winter, alternate opening windows and heating.
• Do not operate any electrical appliances while standing on wet floors!
• If wet, place important books and documents in the freezer to prevent mold growth.
• Keep children and pets out of the affected areas.

Wind

• Board-up or tarping of open areas may be necessary for security purposes and to limit further damage from the elements.
• Damage from storms may result in roof and siding damage, gutter and downspout damage, glass damage, and/or lightning damage.
• Fallen trees can be dangerous and cause serious structural damage. Tree removal and general debris clean-up will be necessary. Damage to the interior of the building may also need to be addressed.
• Call your local power company and keep a safe distance away when encountering downed power lines and trees.

Fire

• Board-up or tarping of open areas may be necessary for security purposes and to limit further damage from the elements.
• Open windows for ventilation if weather permits.
• Pour antifreeze in toilet bowls, tanks, sinks and tub drains to prevent freeze damage in winter. Call a plumber to drain water lines.
• Remove perishable foods from refrigerators and freezers if you have lost power.
• Refrain from washing fire residue from walls, ceilings and other surfaces. More damage may occur.
• Do not use food items or canned goods that have been exposed to heat.
• Do not turn on computers or other electronic equipment and appliances.