What does a Mitigation Company Do?
1. Contents Inventory
Making an insurance claim for the contents and personal property can be time-consuming and complicated. A thorough inventory will include making a list of all effected items, photographing them, pricing them, and then submitting the inventory and documentation to an insurance company in an organized format. This service is usually recognized as a very valuable service. Most folks do not want to sit for days in the damaged area of their home or business sorting through contents items one at a time. An insurance company may or may not pay for this service. And if they don’t, various companies will complete with work for a fee.
2. Contents Packout/Storage/Pack-in
In order for repairs to be made to a water or fire damaged building, the contents must be removed. Removal of an entire building’s contents is called a “Packout.” The contents that are to be kept are taken to the mitigation company’s facility and are then processed to make them ready for storage.
The process prior to storage may include cleaning/sterilizing salvageable things such as plates and silverware that were not directly exposed to a fire and are otherwise usable. Mitigation companies usually have an “Ozone Room” that is sealed and has an ozone-generating machine in it. Ozone (O3) is a form of oxygen that has three oxygen molecules instead of two. The third molecule can detach and apply itself to other chemicals and alter them. Bathing items in ozone neutralizes the byproducts of fire and water, including odor, bacteria, and viruses.
Storage – Rebuilding a damaged structure can take months, during which time the contents are placed in an organized way first in small boxes where possible, and then into larger wooden “vaults,” which are large boxes that can be manipulated by forklift for efficient medium to long-term storage at a mitigation company’s warehouse. All items in storage are listed in an inventory according to the box and vault they are in, permitting easy retrieval at any time as needed.Once the building is rebuilt, the contents are subject to a “Pack-in.” They are returned to the room in the building where they belong. A crew assists the owners in resetting everything as it should be, as needed.
3. Dry Ice Blasting
Dry ice blasting is an environmentally responsible cleaning method. Dry ice is made of reclaimed carbon dioxide that is produced from other industrial processes. It reduces or eliminates employee exposure to chemical cleaning agents. Compared to other media blasting methods, dry ice blasting does not create secondary waste. Dry ice sublimates, or converts back to a gaseous state, when it hits the surface that is being cleaned. Dry ice blasting does not require clean-up of a blasting medium. The waste products, which includes just the dislodged “dirt,” can be swept up, vacuumed or washed away depending on the contaminant.
4. Water Removal/Structure Drying
Water left inside of a building will promote mold. There is an entire profession that revolves around removing water and moisture from the interior of buildings, and this includes testing for and finding moisture and the subsequent steps needed to remove it before greater damage occurs.
A building can have deodorizing machines placed in it. These machines and special cleaning processes can neutralize odors. Truly intense smells may require dismantling/removal of damaged portions of the building.
6. Air Filtration/Dehumidification
Dehumidifier machines (known in the industry as de-hu units) move air and extract water from the air, promoting the drying process. Other machines can be used to move air through the building and may or may not be designed to filter the air to remove dust and other contaminants.
7. Surface Cleaning
Smoke is acidic, and soot from smoke can damage surfaces if left alone. Frequently, giving metal and stone surfaces a prompt, vigorous wipe-down can prevent damage to chrome, brass, or counter-top surfaces. This can allow areas of a building that were not directly damaged by fire to avoid the need for more involved restoration later.