Water, Water Everywhere


Last week we talked about fire. So let’s assume your museum/house/secret lair has had a fire and now the fire has been put out. What is the majority of your clean-up activity going to be focused on? That’s right, dealing with water damage. I mean, the stuff that burned is gone baby gone, but the damp and soaked items? You can still lose them all if you don’t act quick. Other reasons you may have wet items to salvage in your museum/house/secret lair: Broken pipes, leaky roof, or a local flooding event.

Wet items have to be dried carefully in a controlled manner as quickly as possible to prevent mold and additional damage. Water-sodden items will be more fragile than normal and heavier than normal. Take care to stabilize items when moving them. DO NOT MOVE WET CARDBOARD BOXES WITHOUT STABILIZING THEM IN A WATERPROOF CONTAINER FIRST. You never know when the wet cardboard will give way damaging items and injuring people.

The first 24 hours are pretty crucial. You need to clean up as much water as possible. Use wet-vacs, pumps, and mops to get rid of as much water out of the area as possible. Items should be spread out to dry and rotated frequently to avoid damage.Try to get good airflow in your drying area by using fans to circulate air without pointing them directly at objects. If you have the misfortune to have a flood event involving contaminated water such as a broken sewage pipe or saltwater items will need to be rinsed prior to drying in containers of progressively cleaner water.

If you have too many items to process before they start drying, many kinds of items can be wrapped in clean paper and frozen to be processed later when you have more time and people. If you have more items than available freezer space, time, or people, it is crucial to call in professionals as soon as possible to prevent as much damage and loss as possible. Many salvage companies have industrial machines and access to freezers that can help immensely.