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RECOVERING FROM A DISASTER


Sharmin Akter, Managing Director of Total Solutions Group, discusses what to do following unexpected catastrophes.


Fire damage and water damage at your business premises can have a very significant effect on the company and its employees. Regularly assessing risks, and taking steps to reduce these, will help to tighten up operations and safeguard people, and a Business Continuity Plan should enable emergency procedures to be implemented rapidly should the worst happen.


Speed is of the essence in any disaster situation, as the quicker action is taken the less damage is likely to occur, and the greater the number of assets that will be recoverable.


“Fast action ensures the best chance of restoring your property back to its original state, avoiding


permanent damage and recovering the assets.”


FIRE DAMAGE Fire and soot contamination can leave any property in a terrible state, with a number of different types of secondary damage likely. The acidic soot and smoke particles, often propelled under pressure during the fire, infiltrate every surface and can cause corrosion. Hazardous substances formed during combustion create a toxic environment, often impregnating furnishings and textiles, and the process of extinguishing the fire is likely to cause damage, especially from water.


In addition, fire damaged properties may be open to the elements for a period of time until properly sealed. If you are unfortunate enough to experience fire and smoke damage it is therefore essential that you take rapid action.


56 | SPECIALIST CLEANING twitter.com/TomoCleaning


Each fire is unique and the damage needs to be dealt with using appropriate knowledge and experience to bring about the best possible results. Professional services are absolutely vital to ensure an effective restoration is performed, maintaining the structural integrity and value of your property and rapid response is vital.


Once on the scene, and as soon as it is safe to do so, specialist restoration companies will assess the fire and smoke damage and determine what items can be recovered. The remediation process requires a scientific understanding of materials, combustion and the chemical reactions that take place and the techniques required to deal with the particular damage that has occurred. It is important to categorise the damage


and prioritise the urgency of items and areas for action. Any fire damaged item that is of value yet salvageable should be given high priority, as deterioration starts within 24 hours.


Fire and smoke can cause damage to a property in many ways and the outcome will depend on building design, materials, temperature, pressure and weather conditions. Complete removal of soot and smoke will be required throughout the building, and sand blasting or ice blasting may be needed, as well as odour control techniques and building maintenance. A professional company will provide a guarantee that buildings, contents, oak beams, brick, machinery and assets will be free from all incident-related contaminants, such as smoke and soot, when the work is complete.


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