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In spite of all the careful planning, precautions and safety factors we employ to keep ourselves and our homes, corporate offices, commercial or factory premises safe and secure, accidents or natural forces of nature such as floods and fires do still happen. On a larger scale, one has only to think of the wildfires which have ravaged South Africa during recent years of drought, as well as periods of unprecedented rainfall levels and floods and the consequent damage to or complete loss of homes these have caused, to understand the impact these have on our lives. Within individual properties, accidental fires and water damage resulting either from fighting these fires or from other domestic malfunctions are simple facts of life. Whether the damage is relatively minor or a major loss, the services of a fire and flood restoration specialist can definitely assist in restoring some semblance of normality to life.
Internal flood damage can be caused by a leaking roof, a burst geyser or water pipe or even a simple matter of a bath, sink, washing machine or dishwasher overflowing onto the surrounding area. A geyser is usually situated in the roof cavity, resulting in flooding of the ceiling and the areas below the geyser. Not only is the water usually hot, it is also likely to be a brownish colour due to rust build-up inside the geyser. Carpets, curtains, furniture, wooden, laminate and vinyl floors will suffer severe water damage and staining which may be impossible to clean or repair if the water is not removed as quickly as possible.
Solid wood expands and swells if left standing in water but may still be salvageable, but laminate and MDF furniture and floors will basically be a write-off once they have been soaked, especially by hot water. A restoration specialist is knowledgeable in treating such damage and salvaging as much as possible. These specialists have the equipment to pump out large amounts of flood water from inside the premises and enable quicker drying, lessening the possibility of water soaking into porous floors and causing even more permanent damage.
If possible, they may also ‘cocoon’ a room in plastic sheeting in order to accelerate the drying process, allowing industrial dehumidifiers to work faster and more efficiently and help prevent the build-up of mould, mildew and subsequent deterioration of the structural integrity of the area. The specialist will spray or fog carpet, upholstery, and accessories with fabric conditioners and protectors, deodorizers, and disinfectants with hand and power sprayers and electric foggers using his knowledge of types of fabrics, dyes, and chemical sprays. When it comes to fires, one has to contend with damage sustained from smoke, soot and water used to fight the fire. Even relatively small domestic fires caused by accidents such as overheated cooking oil on a hot hob, a pot burning dry, a flambé gone wrong, a faulty electrical connection or fires started by unattended lit candles or cigarettes can result in thousands of Rands’ worth of damage. Even if you are insured, the inconvenience and subsequent loss of irreplaceable or sentimental items can never be under-estimated, but a fire and flood restoration specialist can certainly minimize the extent of the loss and restore order as quickly as possible.
Fire and flood restoration specialists are extensively trained and knowledgeable experts who often work closely with insurance companies or operate independently. They may be found through the Yellow Pages, newspaper advertisements, house and home magazines, building expos, through word of mouth or via the internet. If you plan on looking online for such a specialist, using a search site such as Uptasker will save you valuable time and effort, particularly since Uptasker lists suppliers in geographical areas which will speed up the process immensely. Uptasker also provides online ratings and customer reviews, together with one-click links to service suppliers’ websites if available. Being able to check customer reviews is a huge advantage when gauging the level and speed of service of any supplier. Many of these specialists aim to be on site within a matter of hours to begin the clean-up and assess what can be restored.
Speed is of the essence when dealing with the aftermath of water damage and removing the overwhelming acrid smell of smoke resulting from a fire. Obviously, the most important task is to remove as much water as possible as quickly as you can. For this, you need specialists with industrial equipment if a large area is affected. Even if only a couple of rooms have suffered fire or flood damage, a flood and fire restoration specialist will professionally and speedily assess the damage, restore what is salvageable and get you back on track as quickly as possible. For more tips, see our flood and fire restoration specialists’ articles.
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