John Mattock, Facility Manager and Director of Mitigation for Paul Davis Restoration & Remodeling, spoke in February to a packed house of facility managers, engineers, and their supporters. He opened the presentation with an interesting statistic: “It’s not if a disaster will strike, it’s when it will strike, and how you will deal with it that counts. The fact is that 76% of companies experience at least one business disruption in any 5-year period, and 27% have to declare at least one disaster, which means critical systems were disabled long enough that recovery procedures had to be executed,” he said.
After raising the awareness that nobody is immune to disasters and that the nature of these disasters can be devastating, Mattock launched into the presentation, detailing the basics, raising awareness about potential situations, and detailing how to make an emergency action plan.
“The emergency action plan: do you have one? Establish protocols and procedures to ensure business continuity, identify alternate resources, including recovering servers, mainframes, and their backups. Know your legal boundaries and covenants, and the parameters of your insurance policies,” he advised.
Moving on to water damage, consideration must first be given to the type of water which is causing concern. “Not all water is ‘created equally’,” he said. “It is good to know that water is broken down into ‘class and category’ when flooding occurs. Knowing the difference makes the mitigation process easier to execute, potentially saving secondary damages and money.”
“How much water and where did it come from? For example, an assessment falling into Class 1 is ‘part’ of one room. Class 2 is the whole room, up the walls, as much as 24”. Class 3 is ceiling down to the floor, and Class 4 entails a situation that requires specialty drying: This would impact hardwood flooring, ceramic tiles, crawl spaces, and so on,” he continued.
Next comes an analysis of the category of water: what kind of water is it? “Category 1 is clean water—a sanitary water source. Category 2 is gray water, which includes the presence of organisms with possible health implications--significant contamination may exist. Last we have Category 3 or ‘black water’: health exposure risk is a real consideration—the water is grossly contaminated,” he concluded.
Time is ticking; what do you do? “You must contain and minimize the damage which will reduce the severity of loss, ultimately reducing the restoration costs and minimize business disruption. You will effectively protect the health and safety of employees or occupants
.”So, anyone can dry it out, right?
“Not necessarily. Drying is a science that includes controlling temperature, RH and airflow, all contributing to minimize drying time. There are four steps: extraction, air movement, dehumidification, and temperature,” Mattock continued.
The effects of water can be devastating. Within 24 hours water damages such as furniture swells and splits, drywall disintegration, grout staining, metal oxidization and rust, and carpet delamination starts. Within 72 hours and beyond, smells are apparent which lead to mold. And many folks in facility management positions need to know if the building's insurance will cover this.
The best plan after an occurrence? “ACT FAST and BE PROACTIVE. Know what you will do, who you will call, and have knowledge of the proper steps to act on it, 24/7.”
If the issue is fire and smoke, first board-up and secure the area. Board-ups prevent theft, injury and minimize impact on patrons. Next, if it is winter, drain the plumbing. Clean up safety. Be mindful of corrosion control, and differentiate between damage to structures vs. contents.
What are the tools of mitigation? Infrared thermography, hygrometers, moisture meters, ozone generators, thermo-foggers, dehumidifiers, air movers, and psychometric calculators are the tools of the mitigation trade.
“In conclusion, make sure you have an Emergency Action Plan (EAP). Like most things facility management- related, advance planning can save the day and thousands of dollars in the long run.”