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Hurricanes Harvey & Irma: Thousands of flooded houses!

Hurricane Harvey – What should you do after extensive flooding?

The south of the Texas region was severely hit by Category Four: Hurricane Harvey causing thousands of residents to evacuate due to mass flooding. An estimated 156, 000 properties were damaged by extensive floods leaving behind thousands of families displaced due to flooded properties.

Most of the houses that have been flooded are affected by black water. Black water is highly contaminated and usually contains sewage, bacteria and harmful chemicals which is extremely unsanitary. It is crucial to proceed with a meticulous decontamination, and a thorough cleaning and drying procedure.

Excessive water and contaminant removal is a result of excess water especially raw sewage entering the property and requiring immediate removal. Floor coverings and sub-floors with affected flooring need to be removed and disposed of. Sub-flooring needs to be assessed to define if it is salvageable or not. Residual organic matter in cracks and crevices of salvageable materials are normally cleaned by flushing with a cleaner/disinfectant solution.

Detailed cleaning & specialty cleaning agent application is required after removing heavy organic soils and contaminants. The process involves thorough cleaning of the remaining materials or components before the application of a cleaning.

– Detailed Inspection – An inspection needs to be conducted to determine the extent of water migration and will help to define a plan to dry and restore both building and content materials.

– Contents Materials – Soft contents are generally not restorable however semi-porous as well as non-porous can be decontaminated and salvaged.

– Building Materials – The evaluation of the building materials will indicate us the degree of contamination which will determine the need for removal, disposal and demolition.

– Asbestos – Be mindful of building materials when removed is essential as it may contain asbestos.

– Structural Drying – We recommended that moisture and humidity be reduced as much as possible by introducing air movers and dehumidification to increase the rate of drying.

This process can prevent from mould growth issues if it is carried out as quickly as possible after any flooding events.

The information above is to be used as guide and we highly recommend this procedure to be carried out by a restoration professionals.

Hurricane Irma – How to get ready for a Hurricane?

Our experts have also seen that a new storm, Irma, has been strengthening into a category three storm threatening Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic as well as the East Coast of the United States including New York.

It is very important for the residents of these countries/cities to get prepared so they can minimise the risks of damages due to strong wind and heavy rainfalls.

Juvenaire has established a list of recommendations to follow before any storm warnings:

– Check the condition of the roof and repair loose tiles and eaves

– Clean gutters and downpipes so water can drain away as quickly as possible

– Trim trees and overhanging branches

– Secure loose items that could cause damage with high winds (gardens and balconies)- Move personal documents, irreplaceable items to a higher floor

– Raise electrical items and any white goods- Identify where and how to turn off the mains supply for water, power and gas

– Prepare an emergency kit (including drinking water & food, phones, medications, clothes, torch & battery powered radio)

– Take photos of your property and contents

– Ensure that your home, car and contents insurance policy covers you for flooding

– Complete the emergency contact card and keep it with you

Cyclone Debbie

Weather events can be very destructive and the recovery process can take months if not years. Juvenaire set an office up in Airlie Beach to support residents as well as insurance companies to restore the whole area after Cyclone Debbie. Six months have passed since the storm and our team is still involved restoring the properties affected.

It is essential that restoration professionals carry out any work related to flooding as it can lead to serious mould issues and affect your family’s health.

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