We know how hard it can be to lose your valuable possessions during a disaster. The most recent estimates for personal content loss due to fire or flood came in around $2.7 billion per year in the U.S. And that’s just what was covered under homeowner’s or renter’s insurance, not those without insurance. That’s a lot of loss. But there is a way to prevent such loss, and even though there are no guarantees how effective it will be, it can potentially save your precious valuables.
Cleaning the non-porous, hard surfaces like concrete, ceramic, and metals is very easy and straight-forward. It becomes much more difficult to decontaminate the more delicate objects that are susceptible to mold damage. There are many unknowns and stressful variables that have to be considered when it comes to soft contents, among but not limited to: stress from restoration professionals about the process of cleaning such a vast array of items, anxiety of certain professionals on the health documentation side about making claims as to the safety and efficacy of the decontamination results, and hesitancy from the insurance industry about paying for the cleaning process when they can simply cash out the claimant.
One of the more serious concerns for the occupants or claimants, is the leftover residue on their valuables that is both foul-smelling and potentially hazardous. Flood damage contaminants are a cauldron of potential bacteria, mold, heavy metals and even pathogens. Certain protocols need to be put into place that protect not only the damaged contents, but also the workers themselves. This means a comprehensive approach needs to be taken where all contents are assumed to be contaminated so the risks are mitigated.
As for the process of removing contamination after a mold abatement situation, it typically starts off with HEPA vacuuming, followed by a high water extraction. It would then be finished off with another round of HEPA vacuuming. We’ve saved large amounts of carpeting and furniture using these techniques. Attempts at using ultra-violet light treatment on contaminated soft goods have been tried, but the positive effects are limited to the surface of the object. There is also a newly developed washing machine process that uses high pressure washers rather than traditional agitators, and it has been gaining popularity over the last decade or so.
There are many ways to go about the decontamination process, but suffice it to say that the professionals you choose to go with should come in with a plan, and definitely take advantage of third party verification to ensure the efficacy and safety of your valuables once the process has been completed.
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