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Restoration Industry Association Disaster Planning Tips
Disasters come in endless varieties – sewage backflows, lightning strikes, earthquakes, wind damage, fires and hurricanes or even burst pipes. Whatever the cause, everything stops – abruptly. The Restoration Industry Association (formerly ASCR) has compiled this list of things to keep in mind when preparing your home or office for general emergencies:

Ask yourself:
If you had to leave your home or business for three weeks, what would you wish that you had done?

Inspect
every area and assess its vulnerability to water. Water is almost always a factor in disasters,
whether from fire suppression, roof damage, plumbing failures, chemical spills or earth tremors, even
when the damage originates on a remotely higher floor. Nothing but furniture and durable equipment
should be stored directly on the floor. Paper records and items are instant casualties.

Desk and table tops are vulnerable to water from sprinklers or runoff from higher floors, as well as to
smoke and heat damage. Make sure important papers and files are put away in a filing cabinet or drawer.

Take photos of each room in your house or apartment, save them to a CD and print hard copies. Keep one set to take with you and a second set off site (e.g., safe deposit box, relative’s home). This gives you a digital inventory of the major contents in your house and what they looked like prior to water or fire damage.

Back up your computers and keep the information where it’s easily accessible in an evacuation as well as at an offsite location. (This is particularly important for people who work from home.)

Businesses should maintain a moderate stock of emergency supplies. A few dozen plastic tarps, a couple of wet – pickup vacuums with wands and floor attachments, and a few floor squeegees provide a primary level of protection at a moderate cost. A case of absorbent wipes can also be useful.
Rapid response is the key to damage control. The ability to swiftly deploy tarps over computers, production equipment, file cabinets and other critical components can dramatically curtail the extent of damage. If you have advance warning of a peril, charge cell phones, laptops, PDAs, etc. in case you’re without electricity for a few days.

Items to keep in your emergency kit or gather during an evacuation if possible:

-Insurance information-health & homeowners policies, name and number of restoration company
-Family photos, irreplaceable mementos/jewelry
-Digital inventory CD and printout
-Wallet, checkbook and credit cards
-Canned goods, baby food & food for pets
-Can opener/multi-purpose tool/sharp knife
-Bottled water, MREs, water purification tablets
-Work gloves & boots
-Water proof matches & candles
-Transistor radio, flashlight & extra batteries
-Duct tape, electrical tape
-Toiletries, toilet paper, feminine products, diapers, wipes
-First aid kit
-Cell phone, laptop & car chargers
-Extra clothing (i.e., socks, underwear)
-Sleeping bag
-Address book, paper, pens
-Medication & prescriptions
-Extra batteries

RIA Checklist for after a flood or fire
-Compile a list of dates, times and persons who you talk to concerning your claim.
-Get a copy of your insurance policy. This will define and determine your limits as well as your rights
and responsibilities to and from your insurance company
-Have a clear line of communication with your adjuster.
-Ask what the process is for listing and identifying the value of personal property.
-Ask about being reimbursed for any lost rent or interruption of business.
-Ask your adjuster for a sufficient monetary advance for purchases that are necessary. Include enough
money to assist with your first month and security deposit for a temporary dwelling.
-Save all receipts for any and all meals, hotels, purchases, toiletries, vitamins, cosmetics, etc.
-Remember that it is your choice who the restoration company will be, not the adjuster’s.

From FEMA Emergency Response and Salvage Wheel
-Alert any staff to potential hazards.
-Work in pairs.
-Look for areas with loose or downed power lines; avoid those areas and report to local authorities.
-Look for electrical sparks, broken or frayed wires or smell of burning insulation.
-Turn off electricity at main switch if you can without risk.
-Shut off water.
-If you smell gas or hear blowing or hissing, open a window and immediately leave the building.
-Turn off gas at main valve if trained to do so.
-Do not reenter the building until declared safe by security or emergency management.
-Create a secure salvage area for supplies such as: fans, tables, shelves, plastic sheeting, drying
materials and clean water.
-Notify emergency officials concerning the extent of damage.
-Building may be contaminated so do not enter without current tetanus shots, Hepatitis shots, protective
gloves/clothing, hardhat and NIOSH-approved respiratory masks.
-If possible, reduce temperature and relative humidity to prevent mold outbreak.
-Cover broken windows with plastic.
-Do not turn on heat unless truly necessary.
-Remove any standing water and empty items containing water; remove wet carpets and furnishings.
-If everything is soaked, use commercial dehumidifiers through a reputable restoration company.
-Do not move objects or collections without documenting their condition.
-Photograph or videotape conditions of collections and structure; make notes to go along with the photos
or videotape.
-Make notes of each step of the salvage process.
-If nothing in the house is dry, cover everything with loose plastic sheeting.
-Separate damaged and undamaged items.
-Label and retrieve all broken items.
-Isolate items with mold and check every day for new mold growth.
-Make a rough estimate of materials affected and the extent of the damage.