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Office Building Water Damage Preparedness and Education
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
Water damage can still happen even in office buildings with excellent facilities management. Therefore, emergency preparedness is necessary to aid quick recovery from such incidents and minimize losses. The basic aspects of a preparedness plan include making sure that:
- The staff knows how to shut down the water supply line as well as the electric and gas supply lines
- The controls for the utility supply lines work
- The staff has quick access to necessary tools for emergencies
- Phone numbers for the local fire and police stations as well as medical response units are readily available to the staff
- The list of emergency contact information posted in the office includes phone numbers for professional plumbing companies, water extraction and water damage restoration specialists
In addition, certain measures must also be taken regularly to help prevent incidents that lead to water damage. On a monthly basis, the following actions are recommended:
- Inspect all of the building's at-grade plumbing and drainage systems
- Check the flood control system and sump system of the basement
- Check fittings and drains for leaks and, if there are any leaks, even small ones, make necessary replacements
- Make sure there are no obstructions in roof drain outlets
- Check if water flowing out of downspouts will be directed away from the building foundation
- Check for any standing water in the building and find out where the water is coming from
On a quarterly basis, the facility manager should check parts of the building that are below grade such as the basement for any signs of water problems such as water stains, mold growth and flaking concrete that can be caused by moisture. The floor drains and entire drainage system in the basement should also be inspected. If any water damage is found, the source of the problem must be determined so appropriate repair can be done immediately.
Since quick response is critical to the restoration of a water-damaged office, it is a good idea for offices in flood-prone areas to consider entering into a pre-loss service contract with a reputable water extraction and restoration company.
Regardless of office location, however, it is very important not only to have an emergency response plan but also to make sure that the office staff is well-trained and practiced on the plan. Usually, the speed of emergency response makes a lot of difference in how quickly disrupted office operations can get back to normal.