Flooded Property Emergency Triage, Mitigation, and Subsequent Strip Out and Drying.

Date : January 2021 

Lead Technician : Chris Wilson 

Tools and Equipment Required:

PPE – Latex Gloves, Builders Gloves, FFP3 Rated Dust Masks, FFP3 Rated Respirators, Ear Defenders, Water Proof Boots, Steel Capped Toe Boots, Goggles. 
 
Tools – SDS Breakers, Impact Drivers, Multi Tool, Crowbar, Hammer, Knives. 
 
Equipment – Wet Vacs, Hoses, Buckets, Jet Wash, Dehumidifiers, Air Movers, Correventa Injection Drying, DBKs. 
 
In January of 2021 we were called to a number of flooded properties across the Wales region, for a variety of ingresses of water, all caused by heavy rain flow. 

We arrived at this property upon hours of instruction, to find the ground floor saturated, although the water had subsided, it was heavily present within the carpets and flooring. 

Unfortunately we were appointed too late to salvage the majority of contents, on this occasion it seems the contents were instantly damaged and the time lapse between the peril occurring and our appointment would have made no difference. 

Firstly we discussed the process thoroughly with the insured.  It was obviously a time of shock for them and we covered every detail of our process from initial visit until completion.  All contents affected on ground level would require disposal, however there were some items close to the insured’s hearts that they wanted to keep and we would take this onboard and organise specialist restoration or restore ourselves where possible.  Some of these items included sentimental glassware on lower shelves, 4th generation furniture, and home video tapes, which we were to convert to DVD. 

It was important to get things moving ASAP, to prevent further loss to the property due to moulding.  We would seek approval from the PH and insurance before carefully going through the contents, disposing of the obviously damaged, boxing unaffected items up for storage, and separately boxing items up that could be cleaned, or that the insured didn’t want to dispose of for sentimental reasons.   At the PH’s request, we organised a container for the front garden so they could access their contents while they were organising alternative accommodation. 

An electrician was appointed immediately to isolate the electrics and install a temporary board for the machines and the power tools required. 

As each room was emptied, a team followed behind the contents care, removing the wet carpets, underlay, and gripper rods, along with skirting boards.  The laminate flooring was also removed and disposed of, leaving a clear base for an initial flush out.  The property consisted of 8 rooms downstairs, two of the rooms had ceramic tiles in place, these could be left down initially as would not cause any further loss, but would need to come up when full approval was received.  Wallpaper was removed to a level of around 0.7m to prevent moulding and to enable sanitising. 

Once the contents and flooring were out, we proceeded to perform an initial sanitise and flush out of the entire lower floor.  Our team used hosepipes, scrubbing brushes, anti microbial and a wet vac.  The walls were sprayed with an anti microbial solution. 

We installed a dehumidifier upstairs to control humidity and sheeted the stairway off to contain the damage.  We then installed a mitigation drying program, leaving windows slightly open where safe on half lock. 

When we received approval to return for hard strip outs, the bathroom appliances were removed and disposed of, along with the ceramic flooring.  The kitchen was removed and disposed along with the ceramic tiles.  All radiators were removed by our qualified plumbers.  Our team would then need to remove the plaster and plaster boards to all affected walls, lining out up to 0.7m and cutting and removing all the way around. 

Once the strip outs were completed, we installed 2 drying programs.  The first consisted of DBKs to add ventilation and heat to the property due to the cold weather and the heating being isolated.  A selection of dehumidifiers and air movers were installed to control humidity and for additional air flow.  Once the property was nearing drying completion, we removed the majority of the machines and proceeded with the drying of the cavity walls using Correvanta injection drying.  Due to space constrictions these processes were completed separately. 

During the process we also dealt with the attached garage, shed, paving and decking.  The garage was triaged and emptied, leaving a blank canvas to remove the carpet and flush and sanitise.  Mitigation drying was installed, there was no DPM present so we knew we could only conditionally dry this section.  Racking was supplied and set up to put unaffected items back into the garage area.  The shed was dealt with in a similar manner, and we jet washed the silt from the decking using a high powered diesel jet wash. 

Throughout the claim we kept in constant contact with the owner, updating them on processes and also advising them on the next steps, even meeting with the builders when they attended for a pre site reinstatement visit, due to the trust we had gained during our works. 

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