Safely Resuming Business After a Flood

Natural disasters make it difficult to resume business as usual, and the interruptions could easily exceed your expectations. You obviously know you can’t open for business while there’s still a foot of water in your sales room, but you may not be aware that there are plenty of dangers that persist after the immediate threat has passed.

What’s at Risk Following Floods?

The floodwaters that inundated your office or shop most likely carried contaminants; if you don’t eliminate these, they might infect your unwitting consumers. Toxins could include everything from infectious agents and sewage to bacteria or industrial waste. That’s why the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends that companies like restaurants and grocers perform thorough decontamination and sanitation using agents like bleach prior to reopening or even restocking.

If you store perishable stock, floods that knock out the power could jeopardize its safety. While it’s a hard pill to swallow, throwing out damaged items is way less painful than fighting a liability lawsuit after you sell them or they harm your employees.

Decontaminating Your Premises

Unfortunately, wiping down your sales counters with bleach and mopping the floors isn’t enough. Hazards can hide in spots you can’t necessarily see or access readily, such as the inner volumes of walls or beneath laminated flooring. Debris that attracts pests might have collected behind furniture and inside vital machinery. Spores from mold growth or other contaminants could have taken up residence in your HVAC system and water piping. Restoration is a highly involved process that requires extensive cleanup, and to minimize your legal risk, it should only be performed by a licensed professional.

In many cases, Indiana business owners find it necessary to reconstruct their buildings. Structural components like drywall and wooden beams, which are more than porous enough to absorb significant volumes of water, don’t dry out nearly as quickly as they get soaked. Even if they weren’t originally contaminated, they now serve as breeding grounds for mold and insects. These building materials must be replaced or treated before you can start hosting customers again.

It’s also critical to inspect your equipment. Electrical devices like air handlers aren’t made to operate in flood conditions, and they may have sustained internal damage when they were exposed to high water. Soft mechanical components, such as air filters, hoses and gaskets, are at particularly high risk, so you’re better off simply replacing them. Even sinks need to be sanitized and cleaned, otherwise you’re just spreading contamination around.

Post-flood decontamination, recovery and reconstruction are all big tasks, but with assistance, businesses can tackle these jobs and get back to serving their communities. Learn how by contacting Paul Davis Restoration today.