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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

What Kinds of Safety Concerns Should You Have if Your Home Floods After Torrential Rains?

5/20/2020 (Permalink)

Heavy rain on roof It’s rainy season in Northampton. Call SERVPRO for all of your water damage restoration needs.

Rely on the Experts from SERVPRO to Keep Everyone Safe During Flood Damage Recovery in Northampton

When seasonal storms bring heavy rains and high winds to Northampton, the Connecticut River can also rise, exposing your residence to flooding from all angles. Regardless of the source of the water invading your home, the quantities that eventually flow inside can be substantial, causing damage to both the structure and its contents. You need professional help to turn back the pages on the disaster.

How Can You Tell if a Restoration Company Has Your Best Interests in Mind?

After you make the call after selecting a restoration company, it is natural to be nervous. Flood damage to your Northampton home is an intensely personal and stressful experience, and you want to have confidence that your restoration partner always has your family’s safety and welfare prioritized. Our mission is to return our customers’ property to a clean, dry, and sanitary condition, following best practices, including adhering to safety protocols from assessment through the final walkthrough. 

How Does a Reputable Disaster Recovery Company Manage Safety on the Flood Damage Worksite?

The caution SERVPRO exercises when approaching your flooding recovery project has as its foundation the reality that water damage restoration presents dozens of dangers that put both occupants and our crews at risk. We follow a protocol that safeguards all persons on your damaged property while providing premier flood damage mitigation, remediation, and restoration services. In theory and practice, water damage restoration can expose individuals to the following overall risks, and our first action when arriving at your site is to assess for the presence of any or all:

  • Slip, trip, and fall dangers, related to slippery and submerged surfaces and debris
  • Working in confined spaces, with potential for physical injury or entrapment in rising waters
  • Exposure to chemical agents mixed into the floodwaters or used for cleaning and disinfection
  • Environmental hazards, including
  • Materials such as lead or asbestos
  • Potential structural breakdowns such as wall or ceiling collapses and disturbance of supportive framing or foundations by the force of water, silt, and debris
  • Electrical hazards, perhaps requiring temporary shutdowns
  • Biohazards such as mold and infectious human waste when sewage backs up 

What Is Next, After the Risk Assessment?

Just because risks exist does not mean the project does not move forward. SERVPRO puts into place research-based, commonsense protections and proceeds cautiously under adapted conditions:

  • Hands-off water removal occurs with the placement of submersible, gas-powered pumps.
  • As debris becomes visible, cleanup is possible.
  • Truck-mounted extractors use power from our generators, so electrical shutdown does not delay our response, removing and containing for lawful disposal even vast amounts of contaminated floodwaters.
  • When contact with infectious or otherwise contaminated fluids and materials is necessary, crew members wear personal protective equipment (PPE). 

How Are Electrical Hazards Managed After Restoring the Power?

Eventually, we use on-site electricity for our equipment, including smaller extractors and the inventory of machines that assist in structural drying. We employ Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFC) that cut the power when too many current flows. Crew members also inspect cords and plugs regularly for damage and ensure that cords used are managed with zip ties or other strategies to avoid tripping.

  • Team approaches to work in confined spaces ensures that no technician is without communication as portable, plugin extractors enter the battle to remove all water.
  • Light fixtures and electrical boxes should be water-free before use.
  • Metal tools, including measuring tapes, ladders, and more, must not contact working circuits or energized equipment.
  • Diagrams of electrical wiring, cables, and power lines must be available before controlled demolition to avoid cutting into the grid.

Crew members avoid:

  • Plugging in or unplugging wet appliances or equipment
  • Switching on or off any electrical tool or machine while standing on a wet surface

What Approaches Do the Restorers Take with Other Hazards?

Structural Concerns

Northampton storm and flood-damaged structural components can warp, crumble, or collapse. Before beginning flood mitigation and remediation our crews:

  • Inspect for gas or other utility line ruptures, reaching out for appropriate assistance if needed.
  • Evaluate water for water collected above ceilings or between walls, planning for and implementing a strategy of weep holes or flood cuts to release the water.
  • Test floors for weakness, especially if the introduction of heavy equipment might cause supports to fail.   

Hazardous Materials 

  • Chemicals or infectious pathogens can be mixed in the floodwaters, requiring proper PPE and containment of the workspace and the fluids removed.
  • Airborne hazards mandate the use of negative pressure air scrubbers in work areas, and wrapping of the space in 1.6 mil polyethylene.
  • If we encounter asbestos or lead-based paint, our managers must arrange for removal by licensed personnel.

The team at SERVPRO of Hampshire County delivers flood assessment through build-back services. Explore what we can offer you by calling (413) 324-1300.

Contractor Licenses:

General: MA CS-107843

Residential: MA HIC 180066

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