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Medical Facilities Water Damage Preparedness and Education
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
Both internal and external factors can bring about water damage – internal sources resulting from burst frozen pipes, corrosion, overheating, and equipment defects or poor system installation; while external sources are weather-related but impacts a building because of clogged roof drains or sewer pipes or a poorly-maintained roof.
Looking at these sources of water intrusion, medical facilities can keep water damage from happening or minimize its effects through proactive measures, starting with identifying potential risk areas. The administration need to be aware of the risks present for their facility, understand the level of their exposure and then take the necessary action to reduce the likelihood of water damage or its severity.
In addition to understanding the possible sources of water damage in their particular facility, it is very important to conduct regular inspections of the building and relevant systems (i.e., plumbing, HVAC systems, etc.) to spot actual problems before they cause damage.
Educating Staff for Water Damage Emergencies
Educating staff is also a key aspect of being proactive. The staff should learn how they can help reduce the risks of water damage. Educate them about the different water damage sources and the signs of trouble such as water marks on ceiling tiles. When the staff members are more aware, they are more likely to catch a problem early on and report it so that it can be fixed, avoiding hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage.
Facility managers should also see to it that staff members know where the shut-off valves are located. Most of the time during a water leak emergency, the staff knows they should turn off the water supply but they may not know where to find the valve. So while they are scrambling about looking for the shut-off valve, the water is flowing continuously into the room.
Aside from training staff, there should be maps posted around the facility to show the locations of valves. Also, create a checklist for the maintenance department listing the areas where valuable equipment is stored or used to make sure they are maintained well. A roof assessment should also be carried out regularly. The frontline staff and the management should participate in assessment surveys.
Put in place an emergency rapid response team. Contact emergency responders and service providers such as water damage restoration specialists. Form pre-incident agreements or partnerships that will ensure their immediate assistance should water damage occur in the facility.
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