What to do if you have a sewage backup
Sewage backups can cause serious health problems. Do not attempt to clean a major sewage backup yourself, call a pro - call SERVPRO.
Sewage is one of the most dangerous substances to enter homes or buildings. It contains harmful bacteria and can lead to serious health issues or even death. Unfortunately, many people fail to understand the hazards that sewage presents, particularly for the very young or very old, or for those with compromised immune systems or respiratory problems. Keep SERVPRO of Bradenton in mind when dealing with these situations. We are on call to serve you 24/7 at (941) 792-7715.
Here are the key principles homeowners should know about sewage back-ups:
- Sewage contains a variety of pathogenic – disease causing – bacteria and parasites. Anyone who works on sewage losses must have updated vaccinations, including one for Hepatitis B.
- Sewage exposure is particularly dangerous for people with weakened immune systems, including anyone under two or over 60, those who are pregnant, ill, recovering from surgery, on prescription drugs or chemotherapy, or are AIDS victims.
- It is not safe to stay in a building that’s flooded with sewage unless the contaminated area can be completely sealed off and placed under controlled air flow so that there will be no cross contamination of unaffected areas.
- Highly absorbent sewage-saturated materials, such as carpet, pad, upholstery, bedding, wicker, paper or even fabrics that can’t be washed in hot water (130°F/54°C) for at least 10 minutes, must be contained and disposed of properly. This goes for sewage-saturated drywall, insulation and several other structural materials too.
- There’s simply too great a health risk involved if any of these materials are dried in place and cleaned only.
- Only the most highly trained professionals should attempt sewage remediation work. Then, a “third party” indoor environmental professional can provide post-remediation verification or “clearance testing” to ensure that the home or building is safe to re-occupy.
Bottom line is if you ever experience a sewage backup, don’t assume you can clean the mess with bleach and a mop. Call in a professional who is well trained and has many years of experience dealing with sewage disasters. Call a pro – call SERVPRO.
Disasters cause more than a mess in Bradenton
At SERVPRO of Bradenton, we clean up disasters of types: Hoarding & Biohazard. 941-747-2333
In Bradenton, SERVPRO is usually the first company on the scene for property damage. When someone experiences damage to their home, there is an emotional part that comes into play and I can’t help but to be affected and even become emotionally involved as well – we care for each and every one of our clients. As a result, there are some jobs that stay with me for a long time. I remember the people I served and think about them from time to time, and hope that in whatever way I could, I made some kind of an impact on their lives.
The other day, I happened to think about a customer I met a few months ago. We received a call from the property manager of a 55 and older community. One of the residents living there had died and the manager wanted us to come in and clean up the unit. The deceased’s husband was living in a nursing home and their daughter was flying in from Ohio.
We immediately went to the job and began work. The home was a disaster not only were we dealing with a biohazard after a death, the woman in the home became “stuck” in the stress of life and stopped taking care of the house and herself – we were also dealing with a hoarding case.
When her daughter arrived, I could see the pain on her face and knew that she was completely overwhelmed by everything that she had to address. She had to tell her dad about her mother’s death, she had to make funeral arrangements, and she had to grieve. She assumed that she would have to pay for our services out of her mother’s estate. I explained to her that the job in part was most likely covered by her mother’s homeowner’s insurance but I could also see that calling the insurance agent was the last thing on her mind. I couldn’t minimize her emotional pain but I could step in and help a bit with handling the logistics of this clean up. And so I did. I told her to focus on taking care of her dad and making the arrangements for the funeral and I would handle everything concerning the clean up and insurance. I contacted the agent who filed the claim for damages and I went back to the unit later to meet with the adjuster.
Some would say I went the “extra mile” to help this customer, but I disagree. This woman had just suffered the worst loss imaginable. I consider what I did to be a part of the human condition—to reach out and help a person in a time of need. I often think of this customer and hope that she is doing well, that she passed the nursing exams she was studying for when her mother died. Most of all I hope that, in some small way, I helped to ease her burden during a very difficult time.