Flood Damage: Recovering Water Damaged Materials

By: Ben Anton


The days immediately following a flood are the most crucial to the potential for recovering any personal property that may be damaged by the floodwaters. Hurried recovery tactics, however, can lead to further damage of your property and potential harm to yourself and your loved ones. To recover from a flood safely and affectively:

1. Determine the type of flood experienced
2. Assess the damage that has occurred
3. Determine the safest way to salvage belongings

!b>Determine The Type of Flood Experienced!/b>
Floods vary by origin and damage. Floods can develop slowly and take days to reach their final peak. Flash floods, on the other hand, come about within a matter of minutes from seemingly nowhere, typically caused by a surge in rainfall in dry areas. Floods that occur near a defined lake or river are called overland floods and are often weather related. Levee and dam breaks can also create flooded areas.

Stagnant floodwaters can be contaminated by oils, fuels or sewage. If the flood is accompanied by a hurricane, earthquake or severe storm, downed power lines can also electrically charge the water making it entirely unsafe. Also, be wary of any wild animals in post-flood areas. Experts recommend residents avoid all areas with remaining floodwater until it recedes and never enter moving floodwater as it can very easily cause a loss of footing.

Dry areas may also be potentially dangerous after a flood, depending on the severity. Floodwaters can erode roads and walkways, making them dangerous to traverse. Buildings can also be damaged.

Assess the Damage That Has Occurred
Never immediately enter your home or office after a flood - the floors and stairs may have sustained damage and may no longer be safe. Instead, walk a safe distance around your home’s foundation and check for loose or downed power lines, gas leaks, structural damage, and any other potentially dangers. Call a qualified building inspector or structural engineer if you suspect your building has sustained any dangerous flood damage.

Once it has been determined that entering your home or office building is safe, the next step is to assess the damage sustained to your valuables and personal belongings. Not all damage means utter ruin. Water damaged photos, books or documents may not necessarily need to be thrown out. Proper document recovery techniques and document restoration companies can help you stem the loss of your most beloved belongings. Seek out a professional to help you determine if any of your essential materials can be saved, even if you believe them to be beyond repair. Quick response and attention to important pieces may make the difference in its potential for restoration.

Determine The Safest Way To Salvage Belongings
A dedicated document restoration service will be able to help you determine the best system for saving your belongings. Many believe that the best technique for recovering your water-damaged personal effects is the desiccant air dry distribution system. Not all companies offer this recovery service. The desiccant air dry technique is an energy-efficient and safe way of removing moisture from the air surrounding your belongings, allowing the water that is trapped inside them to evaporate quickly and harmlessly.

When looking for a restoration specialists make sure the system they use completely dries the materials. Mold damage can occur long after a flood if valuables are not completely dry before they are returned.

Simple steps taken in the first few days after a flood can make a big difference in the long-term detriment the waters cause a family, home or office.

~Ben Anton, 2008

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Unexpected natural disasters can bring businesses to a stand still. We invite you to read more about preventing mold damage and efficient document recovery from the industry leaders at the Rapid Refile website.

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