Believe it or not, many homeowners fail to take necessary steps to prepare for storms. In fact, according to Kim Brooks, president and CEO of ServiceMaster DSI, disaster restoration experts still come across mold damage in homes months or even years later.
"We can't stress enough the importance of having a plan," says Brooks. "Unfortunately, people often don't take weather warnings seriously, and once they do, panic sets in and they run out of time to take care of simple precautions to secure their property. Knowing what to do before and after a major storm, and knowing when to call in the professionals for assistance, including who to call, can help home and business owners avoid costly damage to their properties in the long run."
Brooks suggests a three-part strategy to help reduce potential damage, expense and inconvenience following severe weather:
1. Prepare in Advance
- Once severe weather is predicted, begin boarding up windows and ensuring rain gutters are clear. Secure loose outdoor items and have a fresh supply of batteries on hand, as well as emergency supplies such as water, medication and non-perishable food. Take photos and make lists to document essential possessions.
Most importantly, have a plan for post-hurricane repairs and information on hand for professional restoration companies to help lessen damages in a timely manner.
2. Assess Aftermath
- Safety after a heavy storm is critical. Debris, live power lines and electrically-charged water are just a few of the safety risks to keep in mind. Evaluate the situation and structural damage before entering the home or attempting DIY cleanup, which can cause more damage and lead to additional expenses.
When possible, water cleanup should begin right away (within 24-48 hours) to avoid mold, rust and further damage. Remove wet area rugs to prevent seepage of water up drywall and discard damp, non-valuable items to help avoid potential mold contamination. To mitigate loss, contact a professional restoration company immediately.
3. Recognize Lingering Problems
- Be on the lookout for mold following water damage or flooding. Mold needs wet conditions to grow and is most often detected by sight or smell. If you notice mold stains or a musty smell in a room or area, remove any lingering wet items.
Don't rely on products that promise to kill mold, including bleach, as it only causes mold to go dormant. The only way to truly get rid of mold is to cut it out of an area -- an undertaking best left to professionals to avoid spreading it across the property, causing further costly damage and inadequate cleaning.
Source: ServiceMaster Restore
Published with permission from RISMedia.