Spring is a severe weather season, meaning most parts of the country will experience at least a few storms during the spring months. So, when your business has been in the crosshairs of a severe thunderstorm, there could be some significant cleanup to do. Here are six steps to getting your business cleaned up and ready for customers.
Call Help for Downed Lines
The most common hazard encountered during storm cleanup is downed power lines. You should never attempt to move or even approach these dangerous objects, even if they appear to be dead. They might actually be dead, but they could potentially become re-energized by repair work or by contact with other fallen lines. Instead of trying to take care of them yourself, notify your electrical provider. The company will send a crew as soon as possible to shut off power and get started on repairs.
Deal with Indoor Water
True floods are rare in areas without creeks and streams, but blocked drainage ditches or other problems can easily permit an unexpected flood inside your business. After a storm that causes your business to flood, it is critical that you get to work on clearing water as soon as you safely can. When it’s safe to enter the building, shut off the power right away if you can access your breaker box. If not, have your power company turn it off outside. Then get to work pushing water out of the building through exits and floor drains by using squeegees, push brooms, and mops. Bring in as many dehumidifiers as you can and place them at floor drains so that they can run continuously.
Open for Traffic
If you provide essential services or products, then you will need to get your building open as quickly as possible. Even if your business isn’t considered essential, you’ve got a business to do, and you can’t do it with a parking lot full of fallen trees or sidewalks covered with mud. Your goal is to get your business cleaned up enough to be safe for vehicle and foot traffic. Larger debris will require heavier equipment, possibly provided by a contractor, but if there is small debris you can simply clean it up by hand.
Complete Fine Cleaning
Once the bulky items are clear from your lot, you’re off to a good start but not finished. According to C&D Commercial Services, a provider of parking lot sweeping in Dallas, TX, hiring a professional lot cleaning service is an easy way to get fine gravel, and trash cleared away. It may seem cosmetic or even unnecessary to completely sweep your lot, but that is not the case. A parking lot covered with leaves, twigs, garbage, shingles, and other types of debris could be dangerous to foot traffic and potentially damaging to vehicles. Get the lot thoroughly swept as soon as possible so that the business is safe for everyone to enter.
Secure Hail-Damaged Areas
Wind and rain are the most common mess-makers in storms, but we cannot forget the impact–literally–of hail. Pieces of ice that have fallen thousands of feet can do some serious damage to shingles, vehicles, windows, and siding, and while most of the damage it inflicts is minor, broken glass and cracked shingles can easily allow water to enter the building. Make sure that damaged windows are quickly boarded up, both on the building and on vehicles, and have the roof and attic checked for signs of leaks so that you can make temporary repairs right away.
Disinfect Flooded Buildings
Once the water is out of your building, your work isn’t quite done. As we noted earlier, it’s important to remove humidity from the building as quickly as possible. However, there is still a good chance that you have pockets of moisture in corners and hard-to-reach areas. These areas will support dangerous molds if not quickly addressed. At the earliest opportunity, use FEMA’s guidelines for cleanup to minimize the risk of further damage and the creation of health hazards in the days and weeks to come.
We can’t prevent storms or the damage they bring, but we can certainly minimize the impact they leave on businesses afterward. A quick, organized response to storm damage is key to getting your business back to normal as soon as possible.