The cardinal rule for handling any emergency situation that arises in your home, office or commercial property is to act fast and create a clear plan of action that you can implement immediately to minimize the damage. While it can be overwhelming and upsetting to address a disaster, disasters only tend to grow worse the longer you wait to act. Making plans can go a long way toward helping you see your property restored quickly and as painlessly as possible after water damage occurs.
Keep these five essential steps in mind as you address a water-related disaster, and you’ll be well on your way to getting your property back to normal:
1. Protect Yourself and Your Possessions
Water damage can harm your health and safety due to contaminated water, flood dangers and mold growth. To protect yourself, take these actions:
- Shut Off the Electricity: switch off the circuit breakers and unplug devices.
- Evacuate the Flood Area: If you’re in danger of flooding, seek high ground or leave the area until authorities deem it safe to return.
- Wear Protective Clothing: When you reenter the property, wear rubber gloves, waterproof boots and protective clothing.
- Rescue Valuable Items: Remove key documents, memorabilia and electronics.
2. Stop the Water Damage
The source of the water problem must be identified and fixed to prevent damage from compounding. Take these steps:
- Use Shut-Off Valves for burst pipes or hot water tank leaks.
- Sandbag and Ditch to prevent flooding.
- Use Buckets to catch water from leaking roofs.
- Be alert for the signs of mold such discolored ceilings and/or baseboards and the smell of foul odors.
3. Contact Your Insurance Company
Your insurance company is a vital resource in helping you navigate an emergency. Help yourself make an effective claim with these tips:
- Call as soon as possible after the damage occurs, and find out what steps the insurance company requires you to take.
- Get a claims adjuster on site as soon as possible to document the damage and estimate the cost of repairs.
- Take photos of the damaged areas and any affected valuables.
- Keep detailed records and receipts.
4. Dry Things Out
If you can start drying out your property within 24 hours and complete the process in 3 to 4 days, you greatly reduce the chances of mold and mildew. Note that in Hawaii, due to our tropical humid environment, this may not be easy.
- Remove wet furniture from the flooded areas if possible.
- Place aluminum foil between furniture legs and wet carpet to prevent carpet stains.
- Hang area rugs in the sun to dry.
- Use fans and dehumidifiers to help dry out wet areas.
- Turn on air conditioning to help remove humidity.
- Drying equipment by a professional restoration company may be needed.
5. Hire Expert Water Damage Repair Services
Water damage often requires the help of expert water damage repair and remediation services. If your disaster requires a professional, whether you use HBM Restoration or any others, keep these rules in mind:
- Determine what is salvageable and discard anything that is too damaged or no longer safe to use.
- Remove and replace any damaged drywall, insulation, flooring, carpeting and/or baseboards to prevent mildew and mold growth.
- Bring in professionals with specialty equipment such as moisture detectors, hygrometers and remote cameras to find trapped residual water as moisture can get into places that you can’t easily see or find.
- Seek professional advice on damaged property such as documents and electronics, which can often be restored with specialty equipment.