Disasters are catastrophic events that generally occur beyond your control. And depending on the extremity of the circumstance, they can cause adverse effects on properties and businesses.
Disasters such as floods, earthquakes, strong winds, wildfires, etc., can throw your well-laid business plans and projections into disarray. For instance, assets can become unusable, which can significantly affect your capital as you now have to spend money on restoring them instead of using the money to expand your business. Additionally, disasters may break the supply chain, employees may be unable to report to work, and you may lose customers as they move to safer areas.
However, you don’t need to give up and watch your company die. Little by little, you can restore and grow your small business again. And one of the best places to start is by cleaning your business premises, says experts Summit Cleaning & Restoration Services, who, in their recent blog post, provide helpful information on the ins and outs of disinfecting business workplaces.
Cleaning Up Your Business Premises After A Disaster
To help you get started, here’s a small business guide on what to keep in mind when cleaning up after a disaster.
1. Refrain from returning to your office until it has been deemed safe.
Disaster scenes can typically be chaotic, with different trash and dirt. Additionally, flooded places can be dangerous during storms or severe rains because of erratic water movement.
The structure or office space for your small business could become unstable and unsafe due to the water damage, which could also undermine the foundation. In light of this, be careful to follow the guidance of the local government, emergency services and responders, and specialists regarding whether it is currently safe to go back and clean up the area or recover your business’s items. This will safeguard your safety and the safety of your team.
2. Employ Experts To Examine The Building
Disasters can cause harm to your property as well as the surrounding area. For instance, excavation, mixing, and movement can all occur due to fire, earthquakes, and stormwaters, making the property dangerous. Therefore, before you begin cleaning up, be sure that no hazardous or unhealthy substances, such as: are present in the water you handle, the air you breathe, or the debris you move.
- Gas spills
- asbestos fibers in the air.
- Wastewater Chemicals in underground storage tanks, etc.
It is advisable to consult experts like engineers and building inspectors to analyze the structure and look for gas leaks, chemicals, and other harmful items. They are best qualified to vouch for the existence of any potential dangers. These experts could also help you clean up the area to make the cleanup process safer and more effective.
On the other hand, you can also employ construction experts to fully examine the building and the structure for any potential damage and general health. By doing this, you may help guarantee that the structure of the building is still sound and safe for occupants.
3. Obtain the Right Safety Equipment
If you intend to handle the cleanup process yourself, dress yourself and your staff in safety gear, such as the proper personal protective equipment (PPE), following safety procedures. Doing this may guard yourself against all risks to your health and safety, including those posed by bacteria, dirt, chemicals, mold, polluted water, trash, and other dangers.
Start by evaluating the hazards and threats you might encounter. This helps you choose the appropriate PPE kind. Additionally, teach your staff the value of having them and how to utilize and maintain them.
The following are some safety accessories you should get.
These can shield your head from burns, electric shocks, and accidents from falling or flying objects.
Wearing protective gear
Wear long sleeves and long pants to protect yourself from dangerous substances and abrasive materials.
Spend money on electrically insulated boots and rubber boots. Also acceptable are safety boots. The prevention of foot injuries from electrical risks or piercing items can be greatly aided by foot covering and protection.
Eye protection, such as goggles, protects your eyes from particles and dust, reducing the risk of eye injuries.
Use heavy, waterproof, cut-resistant work gloves and rubber gloves to protect your hands when cleaning up dirt, muck, and other debris from your company’s premises.
Apparatus for protecting the lungs
Avoid breathing in filthy air using N95 masks or other respiratory protection equipment to filter air contaminants.
4. Compile the equipment and materials required for cleanup.
After a disaster, there is typically a lot of work, from clearing the outside of debris and fallen trees to cleaning and restoring the building’s interiors. Learn about and gather all the necessary supplies for a quick and effective cleaning operation.
The following are some of the materials you could need:
- Detergents, air fresheners, disinfectants, and bleach
- Buckets, trash bags, scouring pads, and scrub brushes
- Tools for cutting down trees include a chainsaw, ropes, screwdriver pliers, hammers, and nails.
5. Be Aware Of Proper Tool Use
When cleaning up after a crisis in your small business, it’s crucial to understand how a gadget works. It simplifies the task and guarantees that you complete it precisely and safely.
Additionally, if you don’t know how to use a tool properly, you risk damaging it or endangering yourself and those around you. For instance, a chainsaw is a crucial instrument that you could need when cleaning up after a disaster. It lets you easily remove trees that may have fallen on your property by cutting them up. However, it could be dangerous if you don’t know how to utilize this tool properly.
You may not be aware that using a chainsaw can result in hearing loss, kickback, CO poisoning, pushback, and pull-in.
Consequently, when utilizing such instruments, you must pay close attention. On the other hand, it can be advisable to leave the job to professionals if you lack confidence in using sophisticated technologies. You can accomplish the operation more quickly and with optimum safety, if you do it in this manner.
6. Control mold expansion
Excess moisture and water after a disaster, such as a flood or a hurricane, can cause mold development in your house. This is a serious problem since molds can be harmful to your health. You risk getting sick from them, especially if you have asthma or allergies.
Did you know that breathing in mold can irritate your throat, nose, eyes, lungs, and skin? Your sensitivity may rise with repeated exposure, making allergic reactions more severe. In light of this, it’s essential to effectively manage mold growth on your property to prevent health issues and improve the livability and comfort of the area for you and your personnel.
Getting rid of mold
Clean and dry your building as soon as possible.
Start by sweeping off excess water and pushing it through designated exits.
Drain the floor by using mops, push brooms, and squeegees.
It’s also recommended to open up your doors and windows for the building to air dry. You can also use a dehumidifier and window air conditioners to reduce moisture. Additionally, desiccants can absorb moisture in enclosed areas where air can’t circulate.
Remove all porous items
Wood, paper products, carpet, etc., that have been wet for at least 24 hours absorb and retain moisture which is ideal for mold growth.
Clean exposed surfaces with disinfectants or sanitizers.
Ensure you also clean and wipe dry all items submerged in the water, such as chairs, desks, curtains, and other items, with hot water or detergents.
Remove items you can not clean
Discard anything you can’t clean or dry quickly, like books and upholstered furniture.
7. Furniture Restoration and Cleaning
All property owned by a business owner is seen as a substantial investment. These include necessities for the workplace, such as furniture, equipment, supplies, and gadgets. However, these might be harmed in disasters like flooding. While some may not be usable, others might still need cleaning and restoration.
You can see if the warranty period applies for electronics and other items submerged in floodwater. Depending on the damage’s severity, you can get them fixed.
Floodwater can cause wooden office furniture to swell and discolor or leave watermarks. This includes your store’s desks, chairs, and possibly wooden display shelves.
Thoroughly drying your wooden furniture so you can get rid of moisture is one of the things that could assist restore it. Let them sit in the sunshine if you can do so without harming the wood. Additionally, furniture with mild stains can be cleaned with a wood cleaner solution. However, it might be preferable to seek professional assistance in difficult situations when you have antique or native timber furniture.
Additionally, it’s crucial to properly clean and disinfect any furniture made of fabric to get rid of bacteria and other impurities. They can be pressure washed and then dried. However, you may decide to replace them based on the harm and exposure to contaminated water.
After a crisis, cleaning up your small business’s space can be an uphill and difficult task. You would have to be cautious of potential threats that could harm your health and the safety of your personnel, in addition to the various responsibilities involved in cleaning and repairing your office space.
It is crucial to study and be aware of the measures to take when cleaning up after a disaster, such as ensuring you have the proper equipment to prevent accidents, pollution, and other health hazards. Additionally, you can always ask for the assistance of cleaning specialists to complete the task.