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Property damage caused by floods, fire, earthquakes, and winter storms is constantly on the news. Properly cleaning up the mess left in the wake of these disasters takes the right tools – tools the average homeowner does not have in their garage. Keep reading to find out from clean-up professionals what it takes to get the job done right.Tim Denman is the Chief Marketing and Sales Officer at ServGrow. His unique strategic vision, leadership skills, and can-do attitude allow him to push his teams to success every single time.

Here are a few recommendations

There are many things that happen to us that are way beyond our control. What we can control [as disaster clean-up professionals,] is making sure things return as close to normal as possible. Here are my recommendations:

1. In the event of a flood, a commercial-grade water extractor [is essential]. It can remove water in half the time it would take to wait for the water to dry. I’ve seen some that can pump up to 20 gallons of water in one hour. Time is money!

2. In conjunction with a water extractor, having a commercial-grade dehumidifier is a must. You can do all the water removal on the ground, but if you don’t remove the excess moisture trapped in the walls or ceilings correctly, you may face a long-term mold problem.

3. Having a HEPA vacuum will pick up any leftover debris you couldn’t sweep up. This is extremely important when it comes to getting rid of dirt, dust, and glass.

4. Having liquid disinfectant and deodorizer is also important in making sure you truly get your surfaces clean while eliminating any unwanted odors [in case of] flood, fire, or a traumatic accident. No one wants to live in a house that smells like burnt tuna. Get rid of those leftover odors.

5. I know it’s silly to think about but trust me. If you’re doing a lot of clean-up, you want to make sure you’re protected from any potential dangers such as bacteria or blood – good goggles, hazard suits, and gloves.

A disaster cleanup business needs several critical pieces of equipment.

First, an estimating tool such as Xactimate to help accurately estimate disaster restoration costs. This is very important for insurance claims.

Next, water and fire damage equipment.

  • Dehumidifiers to remove moisture from the air
  • Air scrubbers to clean the air
  • Air movers to help with drying
  • Extractors to draw water out of carpets and floors
  • Truck-mounted vacuums to extract water
  • Hydroxyl machines to eliminate airborne viruses, mold, bacteria, and chemicals

Plenty of personal protection equipment (PPE), including face masks as we are still in a pandemic and need to exercise precautions for both staff and customers.

Diana Rodriguez-Zaba, Founder & President of ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba.Allan Borch is the founder of Dotcom Dollar.

1. Personal Protective Equipment

PPE is inevitable in clean-up efforts. Investing in PPE not only [allows] employees to do their clean-up jobs safely but also can promote the effectiveness of services. It takes time to secure a manageable inventory, but it sustains the business all year round.

2. Storm Restoration Equipment

It is important to [have] the right equipment according to the nature, size, and scope of the disaster. The following machines must be available:

  • Track-type tractors – These bulldozers effectively clear out vast quantities of scattered debris.
  • Wheel loaders – Disposal is conveniently facilitated with these machines that act as mobile shovels. They remove waste from the site and load them to dump trucks.
  • Dump trucks – Waste from storm damage is easily carried away by these vehicles from the site for disposal.
  • Cranes -Lifting and transporting heavy objects are easier if these powerful machines are available.

Heavy equipment

At its core, any disaster cleanup business is going to be comprised of people who need protection from the chaos left by the disaster. [Employees need] boots, jumpsuits, litter picker claws, heavy-duty gloves, trash bags, possibly even hazmat suits, and masks. Heavy equipment such as earthmovers and cherry pickers may be necessary, depending on the scope. At least ATVs with trailers [are needed] to move the trash to dump trucks and dump trucks to move the trash collected to an appropriate location for disposal.Mike Falahee, Owner of Marygrove Awnings.Diane Vukovic, a disaster preparedness expert at Primal Survivor.

Disaster-proof storage solutions

In addition to all the actual tools and supplies for [the] business, a place to keep these supplies safe [is necessary]. There’s a strong likelihood that the business is also going to be hit [in a disaster].

A basement or first-floor storage room isn’t going to cut it when you could get hit by floods. An aluminum storage shed isn’t going to keep supplies safe from tornadoes that tear through the area. Take some time to research the disaster-proof storage solutions in your area and be prepared to pay more for one which guarantees better protection.

Invest in the following equipment

A disaster clean-up business needs enough equipment to properly complete a job from start to finish. To cover the basics of emergency water damage restoration, having equipment for moisture detection, water removal, structure drying, sanitizing, and restoration [are a must]. A fully established disaster clean-up business must invest in the following equipment:

  • 30 Air Movers
  • 5 LGR Dehumidifiers
  • 2 Air Scrubbers
  • 1 Industrial Extractor
  • 1 Portable Steam Cleaner
  • 1 ULV Fogger
  • 1 Ozone Machine
  • 1 Pump Sprayer
  • 1 HEPA Backpack Vacuum
  • 1 Power Distribution Box
  • 1 Set of Moisture Meters

Brian Mazzone, Operations Manager at SERVPRO of Morristown.

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