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Saturday, June 24, 2017

Water Damage in Banks and Financial Institutes - part 2

By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff

Preparedness and Education

Water Damage in Banks and Financial Institutes: Preparedness and Recovery. How to minimize downtime and get back to business fasterIn the event of water damage, a banking business will want to do everything possible to recover quickly and efficiently in order to meet the banking needs of its customers. Being prepared and proactive is crucial and it involves having in place a well-thought out emergency response and business continuity plan.

In a nutshell, an emergency response plan lists the bank critical operations, names the persons in charge for each function and states the action to be done during and after a water-damage event. When an emergency situation happens, it will also prove valuable to have formed partnerships in advance with reliable providers of vital services such as check clearing, mobile unit rental and emergency services like water damage cleanup and restoration.

Additionally, the plan should identify alternate locations, which could be another branch or a mobile unit, where basic daily transactions can be processed. Protecting communication systems should also be a part of the bank's emergency preparedness effort to ensure that even during extensive water damage, customers can still get information about the bankís reopening status whether via a toll-free number or the company's website.

Establishing remote facilities for backup, storage and select banking services such as internet and phone banking is strongly recommended. This way, such services would still be available despite the physical bank sustaining water damage.

The bank should also implement mitigating safeguards against water damage such as investing in water leak alert systems that can shut off water supply when a leak is detected and using bank vaults that are fire and water-resistant. It is also a good idea to store vault cash in waterproof, clear bags to reduce the chances of the currency getting damaged by standing water or contaminants.

Lastly, it is very important to educate the staff about the emergency plan. A good plan is useless if the staff doesnít know how to put it into action. At the very least, the three most important areas to train staff on include data and records backup, document storage and their personal safety. Make sure the plans developed are tested and up-to-date with all information easily available because time is of the essence during an emergency.

Water Damage Recovery

After the water damage incident, damage assessment would be the first order of business. Afterwards, one of the first tasks that have to be done in the recovery process is communicating with customers. Obviously, the news of the bank experiencing water damage would be worrying to customers so there is an urgent need for the institution to let their customers know what happened and where they can go for the banking services they need.

Here are other top concerns for banks after a water damage incident:

Safety of staff: Get them out of the affected area if itís dangerous to stay there.

Continue serving customers: This is the purpose of a business continuity plan, which without it would be very difficult to do so.

Information: How to acquire accurate information in a timely manner.

Clean Up Tips

If dealing with internal water damage, the first step of cleanup should be to switch off the main water and power supply lines (if these are safe to do). It is also important to document the damage carefully by taking pictures of the scene, which will help with insurance claims.

Some of the things that the facility manager or the staff can do to help speed up the drying of the area include opening up windows if itís less humid outside or, if this is not possible, turning on the air-conditioning units. It is important that the office is well-ventilated.

Start sorting out wet materials and throw out moldy items placed in sealed bags. Freeze or dry out valuable items or those that are still salvageable. Wet documents, books and other important paper documents can be restored by water damage restoration professionals.

Why Call for Professional Cleanup

The help of professionals would be necessary to properly address water damage in a building, which is why the previous section on preparedness mentioned partnering in advance with emergency professional service providers in the field of water damage restoration.

After the incident, do not delay in calling the partner restoration company. These specialists are trained and equipped to carry out the proper cleanup and restoration of the building in a timely manner, paying special attention to the prevention of secondary moisture problems like mold and mildew growth.

Recommended Reading:
Water Damage in Banks and Financial Institutes - part 1

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