Thursday, March 10, 2011

Part III & IV: New Jersey Tips - Cleaning Up After a Flood

Part III - Dangers of Contamination

Flood waters pick up sewage and chemicals from roads, farms and factories. If your property has been flooded, protect everyone's health by cleaning up right away. Assume that anything touched by floodwater is contaminated. Mud left by floodwater can contain chemicals from sources as varied as your garden chemicals, to a neighbor’s propane tank, to the oven cleaner you stored in the kitchen. Homes with flood damage may have damp areas where molds, mildews, and other organisms will grow quickly.

Part IV - Identify Damage and Begin Clean-Up of Building Contents

Document the Damage

• Once it is safe to enter the building, make a preliminary tour of all affected areas. Wear protective clothing.

• Do not move equipment or other objects without documenting their location and condition.

• Use a digital camera or video camera to record conditions of structure, equipment, and furnishings. Make sure images clearly record the damage.

• Make notes and voice recordings to accompany the photographs.

• For Business - Assign staff to keep written records of contacts with insurance agents and other investigators, staff decisions on retrieval and salvage, and costs associated with cleanup and salvage.

• Make visual, written, and voice records for each step of salvage procedures.

Begin Clean-Up After the flood waters have subsided, start to clean and disinfect the building. However, don’t work in or around any flood-damaged building until it has been examined and certified as safe for work by a qualified person.

• Remove standing water from the facility. Use a mop, squeegee, absorbent materials, or a wet/dry vacuum cleaner.

• Begin draining the basement in stages, about a third of the water volume each day. Pumping out water too quickly may cause structural damage.

• Provide air movement and control humidity. Keep the building cool.

• Remove as much mud as possible. Once you’ve checked the water system for leaks, hose down the inside of the building and its contents. It’s best to use an attachment that sprays soap to wash and rinse the walls, floors, furniture, sockets, electrical boxes and other major items that got muddy.

• Clean and dry damaged equipment and property (take care of the most important pieces first). Take special steps with documents and computer files.

• Dispose of all debris properly. Follow all applicable regulations regarding hazardous wastes, disposal, and recycling. If necessary, contract with a hazardous waste firm for proper handling of hazardous materials.

• If necessary, contract with a disaster recovery consultant to complete the necessary cleanup and restoration.

Do you carry a Flood policy for your NJ Home or NJ Business? Have you reviewed your flood coverage since you took out your policy? Do you know you can purchase flood insurance even if you are not in a flood zone?These are just a few of the questions that Eastern Insurors can answer to make sure you are properly protected in case of a natural disaster, fire or any other event. Give us a call at 800.269.3203 or email Eastern Insurors with any of your insurance questions. You can visit us online for more information on flood insurance here. Check back with us tomorrow for part 5 of our 6 part series on flood safety.

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