Disasters can happen at any time of day or night, and time is of the essence to prevent further damage. In this post we will cover the what and why of the 24/7 care services we offer at Restoration Authority.
What is 24/7 Care?
Our licensed professionals are available 24/7 365 days a year to assist you in the event of an emergency. Emergencies can range from water damage to property board up, but in any case a quick response is needed.
Can I Just Clean up Myself?
While this may be tempting after a flood, doing so may actually be dangerous. Flood waters often contain sewage and without proper protective gear you risk getting ill.
Health risks of DIY sewage cleanup: Sewage consists of greywater (from utilities like sinks, tubs, showers, and dishwashers) or worse – black water. It’s the water used to flush toilets mixed with the human waste that it flushes away. Sewage backups in your home can result from different causes – clogs in the home’s drain pipes, tree roots, damaged sewer lines, and more.
Sewage, especially black water, contains contaminants ranging from parasites and viruses, to bacteria and fungi. Contact with sewage without wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) and following proper procedures is a serious threat to your health. There’s the risk of contracting over a dozen diseases, such as hepatitis A and encephalitis.
Stay Out of Flood Water
Floodwaters contain many things that may harm health. We don’t know exactly what is in floodwater at any given point in time. Floodwater can contain:
- Downed power lines
- Human and livestock waste
- Household, medical, and industrial hazardous waste (chemical, biological, and radiological)
- Coal ash waste that can contain carcinogenic compounds such as arsenic, chromium, and mercury
- Other contaminants that can lead to illness
- Physical objects such as lumber, vehicles, and debris
- Wild or stray animals such as rodents and snakes.1
Exposure to flood water that is contaminated can cause:
- Wound infections
- Skin rash
- Gastrointestinal illness
It is important to protect yourself from exposure to flood water regardless of the source of contamination. The best way to protect yourself is to stay out of the water.2
What if I come into Contact With Flood Water?
If you come in contact with floodwater:
- Wash the area with soap and clean water as soon as possible. If you don’t have soap or water, use alcohol-based wipes or sanitizer.
- Take care of wounds and seek medical attention if necessary.
- Wash clothes contaminated with flood or sewage water in hot water and detergent before reusing them.
If you must enter floodwater, wear rubber boots, rubber gloves, and goggles.3
How Does this Help Me?
The main goal of emergency services is to stop any further damage from occurring. Some of the reasons you want a fast response time are:
- Health risk of mold in your home: It doesn’t take much time for mildew to become a problem in a flooded area. Mold growth can cause great health risks. Exposure to mold especially black mold can cause respiratory problems, skin irritation, nausea, skin inflammation, and immune system suppression.
- Pathogen exposure from sewer line backup: The longer stagnant water sites and breeds mold and mother microbes the greater the smell it produces. This odor sets into your fabrics, clothing, upholstery, and other items. The longer it sits the harder it is to get the smell out. Porous items are harder to treat and will most likely be discarded.
- Contents cleaning restoration is more difficult: Cleaning and restoring contents is more likely to be successful if done with in the first 24-48 hours. Acting quickly gives you the best chance to salvage more of your possessions and lessen the replacement costs.
Water damage is a progressive issue, so the longer you wait to deal with standing water, the greater the damage to your home. Your carpets, your furniture, your walls, and much more, will be compromised without quick and proper intervention.