Chestermere, Alberta Flood Update
One week has past since flooding began in Chestermere and other areas of Alberta. On July 17th, the Calgary Herald reported that the Disaster Recovery Program (DRP), will likely not cover most of the flooding caused by sump pump or sewer issues. At the same time, insurance companies are also denying claims or only offering partial claims. This situation has occurred because the power went out and many residents that had sump pumps to prevent their basements from flooding were unable to do so and now the insurance companies are saying the cause was “overland” flooding. This has created significant stress for residents. The Municipality of Chestermere is still planning to apply for DRP assistance to get as much covered for their residents and advises all residents to consult their website to begin the claim submission process. The City will be offering one FREE basement inspection per affected home for electrical, gas/plumbing, and building to anyone that needs it. Call them at 403-207-7075 to book an inspection. Homeowners may need to call other professionals for different types of inspections.
The remainder of this article will outline the potential hazards you may encounter during a flood and how to avoid them. To gain a greater understanding of the purpose of water damage restoration and steps to minimize flood damage, you may want to read these articles first:
The objective of water damage restoration is to restore your property to the pre-flood condition. Restoration professionals, like MSZ, are also deeply concerned about minimizing health hazards and mold growth.
Water Damage Threats
There are three main threats caused by water damage.
1. Structural Damage.
2. Mold and the Potential Health Impact.
3. Hazardous Bacteria
Once construction materials get wet and 24 hours has passed, mold will begin growing and feed on the home which degrades the structural integrity. This, in turn, will reduce your property value. For this reason, if mold begins to grow it must be removed and the cause of the growth must also be fixed.
As a cautionary step, be sure that you allow your property to completely dry before any reconstruction begins. During a flood emergency, many contractors, will little or no experience in water damage restoration, will begin offering their services. Inexperienced contractors may recommend a rebuild before the area has completely dried out which is a recipe for disaster for future mold growth. The key to avoiding mold growth after a flooded property is restored is to ensure that it is dried completely before any reconstruction occurs.
Mold and the Potential Health Impact
The problems caused by mold are not just cosmetic, but also have health implications.
According to mycotoxin expert Dr. Harriet Ammann, exposure to indoor molds can damage the systems of your body in the following ways:
- Vascular: blood vessel fragility, hemorrhage from tissues or lungs
- Digestive: diarrhea, vomiting, hemorrhage, liver damage, fibrosis and necrosis
- Respiratory: trouble breathing, bleeding from lungs
- Neurological: tremors, loss of coordination, headaches, depression, multiple sclerosis
- Skin: rashes, burning, sloughing, photosensitivity
- Urinary: kidney toxicity
- Reproductive: infertility, changes in reproductive cycles
- Immune: Immunosuppression
As documented by interviews with mold survivors, chronic exposure to mold will cause mycotoxicosis. Michael Pinto of Wonder Makers Environmental, an environmental company based in Michigan has published several article on the negative impact that mold has on health:
Evidence of the negative health impact is growing, so you need to be aware of this and make sure that if you experience a flood, that your restoration contractor is diligent in ensuring that your restoration and reconstruction is done properly.
The longer you take to begin addressing the water damage, the worse it will get for two key reasons.
First, mold only needs 24 hours to begin growing.
Second, standing water provides the ideal environment for harmful bacteria to begin growing. As documented in a previous article, category 1 water can turn into category 2 water and eventually category 3 water, which is the most toxic and causes many illnesses.
Act Immediately and Hire a Professional
The lack of regulation and licensing in our industry means that virtually anyone can offer disaster restoration services. When a flood event occurs, many contractors without any water damage restoration experience may begin offering services because they want to genuinely help, but many will do this simply to cash in on the quick dollar. Protect yourself and use the 10 question screening system we outlined in a previous article.
To avoid the pitfalls of hiring fly-by-night operators, hire a professional like MSZ that has specialized training, equipment, and a solid reputation in the community. Experienced contractors will provide you with a plan of action that outlines what will be done to address the water damage and prevent mold growth. The plan will outline the following for you:
- An assessment of the category of water and extent of damage;
- A scope of work that will assess structural issues based on the class of damage;
- Content removal and cleaning plan;
- Steps required to remove excess water;
- A drying and monitoring strategy using air movers and dehumidifers; and
- A sanitizing plan to ensure a healthy environment.
Furthermore, unless it is absolutely necessary do not begin the cleanup or tear up yourself and be aware that if your home was built prior to 1980 that is may have asbestos containing materials that could become air borne.
If you have contacted a professional and are waiting for them to arrive and must begin some of the clean up yourself, take these following precautions:
- Have the area cleared by emergency workers if you have standing water in an area where fuse boxes and/or electrical circuitry is submerged before attempting to pump out the water.
- Turn off your gas line.
- Wear an N95 or N100 respirator mask, available at most hardware and medical supply stores.
- Wear rubber boots and puncture-resistant gloves. Ideally, don a polypropylene coverall.
- Be sure to carefully dry any belongings you want to try to save.
- Items that should be thrown out, particularly if they have been underwater include the following: carpet, carpet padding, and rugs; upholstered furniture; computers, microwaves, window A/C units, or any appliances that have fans; papers and books; and food items, including canned foods if they were in contact with flood waters.
The purpose of water damage restoration is to restore the property to pre-loss condition. Before the reconstruction phase of the project begins, we recommend that you consult with an environmental consultant to do post remediation tests, particularly if there was any mold, category 2 or 3 water present. This is an important step before reconstruction because it will verify that the water damage restoration was done properly.
If you have questions, call us, 1-403-978-7978 or use our online form. We look forward to serving you! 🙂
— MSZ Restoration (@mszrestoration) July 20, 2015