They were the worst floods that we’d seen for a generation, as torrential rain, rising river levels and high winds battered the UK’s green and pleasant land for well over a month. Even weeks after Eva, Desmond and Frank had all passed, some roads are still impassable, remote villages remain cut off and many shops and businesses are left abandoned.
It was a sad end to 2015, although weather experts are reporting that winter flooding is expected to be the norm over the coming years. There’s certainly ways in which the risk of flooding to your business or commercial property can be limited, but what happens when the worst happens? How do you clean up your business after a flood?
Safe Flood damage cleaning
No matter how emotional you feel about the devastation left behind by a recent flood, you should always ensure that your approach to flood damage cleaning is safe. If there is still water in and around your commercial property, take extra care by avoiding raised manhole covers, sharp objects and sewage pollution.
Once water levels have reseeded, you should first look to contact your business insurance provider and take as many photographs as you can to help document the damage. Depending on your insurance provider, they may want to first assess the severity of the damage in person before the clean up can begin.
Hopefully, the building’s electricity and gas supply should have been switched off before flood waters had begun entering the building, to which they should not be switched back on again after a qualified professional has first checked.
Floodwater can easily become contaminated with sewage, animal waste and other chemicals, so it’s essential that protective clothing is also worn during the clean up, and that everything which has been in contact with the floodwater is sufficiently disinfected with bleach.
The cleaning and removal of Flood damaged items
Unfortunately, many items in your commercial property may have to be discarded after a flood, it’s mainly because some fixtures and furnishings have absorbed some of the pollutant flood water after it entered the building. These mainly include any upholstered items, carpets, plasterboard and wallpaper.
During the first 24 – 48 hours you should look to begin drying out walls, floors and ceilings after they have been stripped back. An industrial pressure washer should not only allow you to prevent the build up of mold and mildew, but it will also help you to remove any silt left behind from the flood water.
Good ventilation and the use of a dehumidifier or other indoor heating devices will help to quicken the drying process of your commercial property. However, we’d also recommend the use of a professional steam cleaner, carpet extractor and a industrial vacuum cleaner as a method of decontaminating any surfaces that have either been in direct or indirect contact with flood water. Once the building is fully dry and free of any mold then you can start to repair it.
For more information about flooding advice in the UK, take a look at the documents supplied by Public Health England. If you are currently in the process of cleaning up after December’s floods and you need to hire or purchase any industrial cleaning equipment, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with our head office today.