A Guide for Business Owners
When a flood occurs, the reaction time is critical in determining the next step in restoring the building to a pre-flood condition. The faster the building is dried out, the less likely you are to develop a mold problem. Unfortunately, mold growth can develop within 48 hours of the water intrusion event and can very quickly take over a building if left unchecked. Therefore, the initial response is of utmost importance.
The first consideration should always be to repair any structural issues that allowed the water to enter and then remove the water as quickly as possible. If there is standing water present, it must be pumped out. The drying process may be assisted by taking steps such as drilling holes low down in the drywall to allow any water within the wall cavities to escape, removing saturated carpet from the building and installing dehumidifiers and fans to assist in removing excess moisture. If you are in any way uncertain of the steps to take, or if your problem is extensive, a water extraction professional should be consulted.
Unfortunately, after a catastrophic flood event water extraction is not always an easy task. Lack of power, equipment or solid water restoration advice and assistance can make it difficult, if not impossible, to dry out a building before mold sets in. In that case, what should you ask yourself to determine if mold growth may have developed?
- Were the building materials wet for more than 48 hours?
- Does the building feel noticeably humid?
- Are building materials or furnishings visibly moisture-damaged or stained?
- Are there existing ongoing moisture intrusion and/or structural problems in the building, such as a leaking roof or windows?
- Are occupants reporting musty or moldy odors?
- Are occupants reporting health problems after spending time in the building?
- Are there visible signs of any mold growth or discoloration of surfaces?
- Is carpet remaining in the building that got significantly wet or damaged?
- Are floor tiles buckling or separating?
If you answer yes to any of these questions, you may have a mold issue. As every situation is different there is no “one size fits all” approach, but a simple conversation with an experienced, reputable mold professional to discuss your specific issues can help you determine the next step.
As most business owners are unfamiliar with dealing with a water intrusion or mold problem, it is wise to exercise caution when selecting a mold professional. The professional should be established with proven experience and education, have liability insurance and any applicable licensure, be able to provide references and should not be trying to sell combined assessment and remediation packages. Ensure services and fees are discussed and agreed upon up front and in writing, for both assessment and remediation services, and never be afraid to call elsewhere for a second opinion!
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