Step 1: At your door ASAP. Initial inspection and quotation
At First Mate Restoration, we service South Florida and surrounding areas with the highest standards and ethics in our process. The first key is that we understand that an emergency means that you want action now, not to be sitting around waiting for the cleaners to arrive. Within Broward County and Dade County, in most cases we will be at your door within an hour, and if that is unlikely to happen for any reason, we will remain in contact with you throughout to keep you appraised on what is going on. Once we arrive on the premises, our first job is always to inspect the damage, and provide you with a rough estimate on the cleaning and drying work that might be necessary, as well as the approximate cost to you. The person that you receive at your door will be a fully accredited expert in wet carpet cleaning and disaster management, and will be able to answer any questions that you might have at this time. Following the assessment, if you are happy for us to commence work on getting your carpet dried and clean, we will then start working in full with a signed work authorization.
Step 2: Ensure the source of the flood damage has ceased
This might sound like a case of stating the obvious, but in the event of a water damage to carpets or flooring, it’s important to ensure that the cause of the flood damage is no longer an issue. Too often people set about the cleanup of their flood affected carpet, only to discover later that water is continuing to leak, making the cleanup harder work than it should be, or simply not effective. It might even be that the customer has already had a plumber arrive on the scene to shut the water off and repair the root cause, but if there is still residual water coming from any source (such as leftover leaking), then it is important to deal with that leak first before the drying begins. As part of the full end-to-end service, the first thing we will do on the job will be to scour the area for any sources of water, and manage those before starting to deal with the cleanup itself.
Step 3: Removal of furniture and valuables to a safe location
It is important to move any furniture within the wet carpets or flooring to a safe location, both to help facilitate the cleanup of the area, and to prevent damage being done to the furniture. We recommend that you don’t try and do this yourself, when the wet conditions might be a risk to your own health, or causing additional damage to your furniture. At First Mate Restoration we are fully trained and experienced in moving your furniture out of the affected area and protecting it from further damage. Instead of trying to move the furniture yourself, we recommend you spend the hour between giving First Mate Restoration a call and when we arrive at your doorstep to move through the affected area and photographing everything. Should it be necessary to claim insurance on the property and contents you will need to have detailed imagery supporting the extent of the damage (including to any property that might be subsequently moved). We will also be happy to walk you through this process on arrival, and provide a rough assessment to the extent of the damage and you will need to get in touch with your insurance agency.
Step 4 : Extraction of standing water and moisture
Once your furniture and valuables have been removed to a secure, dry, location, and checked to ensure that there is no lasting damage done to them (if there has been, your helpful expert on the ground will be able to help you take down the necessary details for insurance purposes), the next step will be to tackle the water itself. In this step we will remove the excess water, as much as possible, from the premises. We have access to all the necessary tools to do this without risking further damage to your property, and our team has a wealth of experience in removing water from flooded buildings. It’s important to understand that a wet environment is one that runs a greater risk of damage, which is why we don’t recommend that you try and remove the water yourself. Instead, our team will be able to extract all excess water with the sensitivity necessary to prevent damage. In addition, should you live in an apartment, and have water filtering down to the floor below, we will be able to help your affected neighbors with their own clean-ups. We may at this stage do some demolition to baseboards and affected Drywall (Flood cuts) which is not dryable after getting flooded.
Step 5: Treatment for stains and water marks
One of the consequences of a flooded room is the potential for stains and marks to be left behind as the space dries out. It is, obviously, not something that you want to happen to your own property. Luckily, the team at First Mate Restoration are trained to recognize the signs of water stains and marks and treat them at a point where they can still be treated. It is better to deal with issues such as marks and stains on wet carpets or flooring before the water has a chance to fully dry, and for the marks and stains to become permanent. If we encounter some water damage to the space or wet carpets that cannot be repaired on the spot for any reason, we will also analyze whether some additional specialist care might prevent the water leaving noticeable marks. At all stages in the treatment process we keep our customers fully informed about their options and potential subsequent action paths. And, if there are alternate solutions that you would prefer to the water damage, then we will work with you in whatever capacity we can to help facilitate this.
Step 6: Installation of driers and/or dehumidifiers
Once the immediate excess water has been removed, it will still be important to remove moisture from the air and immediate woodwork, flooring and carpets. A flood also puts additional moisture into the air, which can settle over coming days. We do this to prevent long-term damage to the space. Moisture left in the wood and carpets can develop a nasty smell in the short term, and over a longer period of time can result in mold and other such health hazards. By deploying air driers and/ or dehumidifiers, we are able to get the water out of the immediate area quickly and safely. This process might take a couple of days, depending on the extent of the flood, and we recommend that in such conditions the air dehumidifiers are left on for as long each day as possible. Of course, we don’t need to be around for that period of time! We will drop in to check on equipment and to take critical moisture map measurements for your insurance claim and review.
Step 7: Advice and action plan for customer
Following the installation of the driers and/ or dehumidifiers, the critical, urgent work has been completed, and the flood (water damage) has been, effectively, “cleaned up.” Other emergency response teams might finish with their service there, but at First Mate Restoration, we understand that there is still plenty more work to be done in order to either prevent further damage, and/ or repair or restore what was damaged from the water. With that in mind, once the urgent tasks have been resolved, we will then sit down with the customer to discuss the next steps they should take, and what they should do in order to prevent any further problems down the path. We will help draft an action plan for each of our customers, while resolving any further queries or concerns that they might have on the spot. The action plan itself will be tasks that you won’t need any further expertise to complete for yourself, though if there are areas where you might want or need additional help, we can help facilitate that for you as well. We take our commitments to a full end-to-end service seriously at First Mate Restoration, and will always be available for additional support in the days and weeks ahead if you have any new questions or new problems occur following the cleanup.
Step 8: Assistance with insurance claim application if required
It is unfortunately the case that there will often be water damage to your property following a flood. In such a circumstance, you will want to lodge your insurance claim as quickly as possible to begin the process of getting your property back in order. At First Mate Restoration, we have extensive experience in helping people with these insurance forms, which can be a real chore to organize properly. We are able to help our customers by providing insurance reports for their insurer and with advice on how to accurately report on damage, so that your insurer will come to the correct conclusions about your claim. We are also able to assist in properly tabling and photographing damage in order to ensure that the damage reports have the necessary supplemental materials. We are not Attorneys and should you have more complex issues with your insurer, we recommend you engage with a relevant expert for further information. However, in most cases all a person needs to do is properly fill out their insurance forms and provide the supplemental evidence, and this is something we have a track record in assisting with.
Step 9: Return visit for progress inspection and adjustment of driers
We will leave the driers with you for a couple of days, as they take a while to fully remove the excess moisture from the air, walls, and flooring. After that time, we will drop by again for an inspection, at which time we’ll determine if the driers need to be moved around, and if there have been any new challenges to be addressed. It might well be that at this point of time the work has been finished, and we can take the driers away and proceed on to the conclusion to the project. At other times, and for especially extensive water damage, it will often require a little longer. Changing the position of the driers once will often be the last stage of the water damage cleanup process, so don’t worry, we’re nearly at the end at this stage.
Step 10: Removal of extraction fans once area is 100% dry
By this point, we’re getting close to the completion of the job. We will continue checking back with you every couple of days to check how the drying process is going. Only once we (and you) are satisfied that 100% of the water has been removed from the air, carpet, flooring and furniture will we remove the driers. By this point the area will be safe to use and live in again. There will be no risk of mold or further water damage being done, and you’ll be able to move furniture back into the living area. By now you’ll also have a firm idea if there has been any further damage that needs repair or replacement. We suggest that while the drying process continues that you leave the area as vacant as possible to facilitate air flow. The dryer’s fans will be noisy, but we recommend you leave them on for as long as possible each day, as they need time to work.
Step 11: Additional treatment for carpet stains or marks, and application for deodorizer if required
After we remove the fans and dehumidifiers, the final step that we will undertake is to take a close look at the carpets and flooring for any stains or marks that have been left by the residual water. If we spot any of these, we will undertake some final cleaning and treatment of the carpet, and in most cases we will be able to remove these marks. Many customers have the impression that once dry, the carpets will stop smelling of that uncomfortable wet carpet smell, but this isn’t always the case. If there is any smell around, we will also apply a deodorizer at this stage. Following this step, it should be unnecessary to conduct any further treatment of the carpets, and you’ll be able to return to cleaning and vacuuming them as you would normally. As with all previous steps, we work closely with our customers here. If the carpet has not been returned to a state that you’re happy with, we’ll be able to discuss next steps that you can take from there.
Step 12: Relaying of carpets and replacing of furniture
At this stage we will help you bring your furniture back into the water-affected room, and restore the area to how it was before the flood hit. As a full service company, we certainly don’t want our customers tiring themselves or potentially injuring themselves bringing heavy couches, bookcases and cabinets back into the room. Nor do we believe you should be responsible for relaying the carpet down. We firmly believe in seeing the job through to completion, which means that you’re able to live in the room again as you had before. And so, after you are satisfied that the carpet is completely dry and freed of offensive smells, we will help move furniture back to where it was. If you have any final questions, now is the time to ask.
Step 13: Job completion, customer sign off, invoicing
Once the room is completely back in order, we will sign off on the job and issue the invoice for the work. Because we have an open and transparent system from start to finish we can guarantee there will be no ‘bill shock’ on costs that you hadn’t previously been made aware of.