Repair. Rebuild. Replace. Steps to Recovering from Water Damage

What to do first


Learn more about flood insurance. A basic business insurance plan covers flood damage. However, if you are not in a flood plan, you're not required to purchase it and many people do not. Flood insurance has fine print that is easily missed, so be very specific with your representative about what they cover.


Check the foundations. Make sure your structure has been declared safe by the proper authorities before entering or beginning any assessment of damage. Wear protective clothing such as waterproof footwear, gloves, safety goggles, and hard hats. Contact utility companies to report any damage.


Document, document, document. Before you remove any water or make any repairs, fully document the damage for your insurer by taking photos or video. Digital versions are best because they can be stored electronically and are easily copied/transmitted.


Take proper health measures. Even if the water is clear, it could be contaminated by sewage or chemicals. Avoid contact with water until authorities declare it safe and wear hip- or waist-high waterproof boots and gloves to sort through any debris.


Contact your insurance representative. Notify your insurer as soon as possible and keep the contact information handy. There are many gray areas in flood insurance so check with your insurance representative to find out exactly what is covered and what is not.


Find out if you’re in a disaster area. Once a region has been officially declared a “disaster area” by government authorities, property owners have access to increased resources, possible financial assistance, and public services to protect and remediate the area.


Remove water. Once you get insurance approval, use a sump pump and a wet vac to remove the water. Water is heavy, so be safe when carrying water up and out. Use blower fans and floor dryers to dry the area and allow fresh air to circulate. Document the stages of your cleanup.


Prevent mold. Mold can develop within 24 to 48 hours of a flood so remove wet contents like carpets, furniture, and uniforms as soon as possible. Wear safety glasses, gloves, wading boots, and respirator masks to protect any exposed areas.


Secure your property. Board up broken windows and secure a tarp for exposed roofs. Take photographs for the insurance company and talk to your representative to find out what provisions they will make for temporary office space during reparations.


Have emergency kits and evacuation plans on hand. If you live in a high-risk area, have kits and evacuation plans in place. Keep a checklist with insurance policy numbers, direct line/email of your representative, essential toiletries, cash, batteries, and more.


Stock up on Supplies


Building supplies. Check for structural damage like warping or loose or cracked foundation pieces, and make sure you have building supplies and raw materials on hand for rebuild efforts.


Electrical. Assessing electrical systems damage can be dangerous. Make sure areas of occupancy are declared safe and wear protective clothing.


Lighting. Damaged safety and emergency exit lighting will need to be replaced, and facility lighting can be replaced with energy efficient LEDs.


Cleanup. Flood damage can affect rugs, floors, walls, and more, and will need to be dried thoroughly with wet/dry vacs, blower fans, and floor dryers.


Mold removal. Mold can develop as quickly as 24 hours after a flood so it's important to use mold removal-specific products to eliminate stains completely.


Safety and protection. Equip yourself and other workers with protective clothing like gloves, footwear, safety goggles, and hard hats before any assessment or cleanup work.


Security. Secure all worksites before entering, and mark off areas with high visibility tape, protective barriers, or security gates.


Maintenance. Have basic janitorial products like sweepers, floor scrubbers, garbage/recycling cans, ladders, cleaners, and more to maintain cleanup efforts.


Tools and fasteners. As you repair and rebuild, make sure you have power tools, screws, rivets, springs, bolts, and more to ensure that each task is completed correctly.


The information contained in this article is for informational, educational, and promotional purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. It is the reader’s responsibility to ensure compliance with all applicable laws, rules, codes and regulations. If there is any question or doubt in regard to any element contained in this article, please consult a licensed professional.  Under no circumstances will Global Industrial be liable for any loss or damage caused by your reliance on this article.


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