Dudley Floyd: We take down all of the information. We make sure we’ve got correct names, addresses. We try to ascertain whether [the person] has insurance coverage, whether the person living on the property is the homeowner or possibly a tenant. We want to know what we are dealing with, if we’re actually dealing with someone who is authorized to give us access to the property. First bit of advice is shut the water off. You want to contain the source as quickly as possible, which would limit the damage. That’s the first two steps: get some information and contain the source.
IP: If Servpro was to come in and take the items, what would the company do next?
Jason Hollen: That would be a company that we are in close ties with that is a Servpro franchise that we deal with. We would want to freeze dry them. By freeze drying them, it helps with removing the moisture. Then, they go through a process of decontamination chambers. They go through a process of freeze drying it, removing the water, and restoring it. There are not many in the U.S. The one closest to us is in Austin and we would hire a company that would have a freeze drying mechanism on their truck and freeze dry it and send it to Austin to have that taken care of.
DF: The hard drive aspect, the electronics is something else as well. We work very closely hand-in-hand with people that specialize in the drying of electronic systems, computers, etc., maintaining the integrity, trying to resolve each and everything that is there. That is something that is out of our RMS that is an expertise area and we defer to them under these circumstances.
IP: With not many facilities doing the freeze drying and the other kinds of salvaging, how often do you need to bring materials to them for cleaning and salvaging?
JH: Quite often. We’re one of the largest Servpros in town [Houston metro area] and we probably do it five or six times a year. Most residential homeowners don’t have documents that need to be freeze dried and taken off-site. When we deal with a commercial client, time is of the essence. The quicker that we can get that done; the better the salvageability rate is. We probably do it a half a dozen to a dozen times a year.
IP: How long does the process usually take?
JH: A couple months.
IP: What is the rate of salvageability?
JH: It all depends on how long it sat and what the category of water damage it is. You have a category one, which is clean water; category two, which is gray water and is slightly contaminated; category three, which is grossly contaminated. When you’re dealing with category three, the salvageability is very low, because it’s grossly contaminated with substances . . . black water, bacteria, mold. It becomes harder to salvage them.
Look for the second part of this interview on mold remediation next week.