How to prevent water damage in your home

Download our printable ‘How to Prevent Water Damage’ pamphlet

Here are a few small things you can do to minimize the risk of water damage.

Tips & Tricks

  • Check periodically for small leaks. Checking for small leaks, can prevent you from dealing with the culminating effect of a large leak in some cases.
  • Invest in braided hoses. A braided hose that attaches to appliances will remain flexible and be more secure than other types.
  • Know where and how to turn off your water. By orientating yourself with your surroundings, you will be able to prevent more water damage than necessary from unexpected events.
  • Check for faulty appliances. Certain older appliances may have faced reoccurring problems, and a quick internet search for reviews may help you prevent future problems, or be more aware of what problems others have faced. For example, Crane toilets manufactured between 1980 and 1991 with the eight-digit serial number starting with a ‘V’ and the third and fourth digits between 80 and 91 should probably be replaced.
  • Store valuable items in waterproof containers. If you store things such as photos or memorabilia in your basement, consider investing in heavy duty plastic bins.
  • Keep your insurance policy up to date. In order to make sure you will be properly compensated, make sure you have a policy that will cover you, especially if you’ve undergone major renovations recently.
  • Get a double check from a plumber. If you are already getting work done, why not get the plumber to just check out your other appliances too?

Water Damage Dos and Don’ts

When you do come across a leak or flood what you do in the next 24 hours is crucial. If you don’t act fast, you can face major damage in your home or business. Here is a quick list of some important do’s and don’ts.

Do

  • Determine the source and if possible try to stop it or call a professional to stop it
  • Turn off the main water supply
  • Turn off electrical appliances
  • Mop or blot as much of the excess water
  • Prop items (such as wet-cushions) to prevent the spread of water
  • Remove items from the area that could be damaged by the water, and try to empty the floors as much as possible
  • Wipe off wood furniture
  • Use saucers under furniture legs if carpet is wet
  • Move artwork off walls to a dry area
  • Call your insurance provider as soon as possible
  • Call our 24/7 Emergency help line for assistance

Don’t

  • Pull-up carpet and pad
  • Touch electrical appliances if they are wet
  • Turn on ceiling fixtures, or stay near sagging ceilings
  • Leave books or anything with soluble dyes on wet carpets
  • Turn up the heat above normal room temperature
  • Attempt to dry carpeting with an electric heater
  • Move anything around of your water is grey or black (it has been contaminated, and your risk spreading the contamination around).

Emergency Preparedness for Landlords

In recent years the number of natural and geophysical disasters has been increasing. The Borgen Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to addressing poverty, hunger, and world issues, reported that in 1970 the average of natural disasters that were reported was 78. In 2004, this number jumped to 348; moreover, according to AccuWeather, since 1990, natural disasters have affected 217 million people every single year (Borgenproject.org 2015, Accuweather.com 2013).

Disaster Frequency Since 1950 courtesy of EM_DAT International Database, Center for Research on Epidemiology of Disasters, University of Louvain.
Disaster Frequency Since 1950 courtesy of EM_DAT International Database, Center for Research on Epidemiology of Disasters, University of Louvain.

In BC particularly, earthquakes remain an imminent threat as the province is situated on the Juan de Fuca fault line that is moving eastward under the North American plate. It is hard to predict when the inevitable major earthquake will hit, but by taking the necessary precautions to ensure that all buildings and people are equipped to handle unexpected emergencies, there is less to fear.
In addition to earthquakes, BC has faced an increase in windstorms, such last August’s, leading to the largest BC Hydro power outage in history (CBC Sept. 2015), and rainstorms, such as in last November, which lead to the closing of highways due to mudslides and flooding (CBC Nov. 2015).

BC Hydro’s Tweet: ‘Difficult Situations Crews Are Dealing with During Restoration.” Courtesy of BC Hydro/Twitter.
BC Hydro’s Tweet: ‘Difficult Situations Crews Are Dealing with During Restoration.” Courtesy of BC Hydro/Twitter.

How do we prepare ourselves accordingly in order to mitigate the affect of these surprise events?
The first step is to prepare an emergency plan so that every member of your household, co-op, commercial and residential buildings understand what to do if there is an earthquake or disaster. In addition to planning your course of action, some buildings and associations delegate certain tasks to certain people. Just as an office building may have a fire warden for each floor, so can landlords assign someone emergency duties such as first aid, or stewardship over a group of people.

In addition to planning for who would be involved in emergency response, we can plan how we can between respond to emergencies. While in the planning stage, we can proactively check our resources as well. Do we have emergency backup systems such as diesel generators, potable water supplies, or a landline phone?
By thinking ahead, both major and minor disasters can be resolved seamlessly. For example, the Globe and Mail highlighted the landlord’s preparedness planning of Cadillac Fairview in Toronto when in January 2005 a transformer blew leading to complete darkness, and pipes that froze and burst. Because of their meticulous emergency plan, the issues faced were considerably mitigated; moreover, they reported, “We had people from the executive vice-president level down on the site within minutes,” he said. “They worked from 7 a.m. to midnight to secure the property, minimize damage and restore power” (Globe and Mail 2005).
Another key tip to increasing your emergency plan is to know the disaster response routes in your area. These transportation routes can only be accessed by emergency vehicles during a disaster, and also will help responders to get to those who need help the quickest. To find out more about the disaster routes in your area you can check out the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure website.

Disaster Response Routes Throughout the Lower Mainland. Courtesy of BC Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, and the City of Vancouver.
Disaster Response Routes Throughout the Lower Mainland. Courtesy of BC Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, and the City of Vancouver.

Another resource that can prove invaluable to landlords wishing to brush up on their emergency preparedness knowledge is to attend free workshops provided by municipalities. In addition to providing general emergency preparedness workshops, the City of Vancouver will offer customized free emergency safety workshops tailored for whatever particular problems you think you may face (See City of Vancouver 2016). This ensures that all types of properties will be prepared for any unwarranted events.

Lastly, a key, but often overlooked step to emergency preparedness is existing organization and self reliance. In order for your property to effectively manage any emergencies that may come its way, you must make sure that everything is operating smoothly under non-emergency environments first. Emergency preparedness is developed on the principle of proactive planning, so getting all affairs in order is a pre-requisite.

As an extension, self-reliance, and personal emergency preparedness will help you to better serve others in the case of an event. This can be done by keeping and maintaining a 72-hour kit, a food storage, and all other precautions listed previously.
By preparing ourselves and our properties for emergencies we can mitigate the major effects of natural disasters, and also rest assured that we can handle any situation that comes our way.

References

AccuWeather.com. November 15, 2013. Steady Increase in Climate Related Natural Disasters.
Borgenproject.org. June 2015. Are Natural Disasters Increasing? See: http://borgenproject.org/natural-disasters-increasing/
CBC.ca November 27, 2015. Rainstorm closes B.C. highways. See: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/rainstorm-closes-b-c-highways-1.1112857
CBC.ca. September 1, 2015. B.C storm: ‘Largest outage event in BC Hydro history. See: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/b-c-storm-hydro-1.3210919
CBC.ca. January 20, 2015. Megathrust earthquake off B.C coast extremely likely, but might not strike for centuries. See: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/megathrust-earthquake-off-b-c-coast-extremely-likely-but-might-not-strike-for-centuries-1.2917937
City of Vancouver. 2016. Free Emergency Planning Workshops. See: http://vancouver.ca/home-property-development/free-emergency-workshops.aspx
Globe and Mail. July, 2005. Landlords prepare for any emergency. See: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/landlords-prepare-for-any-emergency/article18240612/

 

Consumer’s Choice for Flood & Fire Restoration

Superior Flood and Fire Restoration Inc. is a company that prides itself on outstanding customer service. They won the Consumer Choice Award for Business Excellence in the flood and fire restoration category in Vancouver for 2016.

In only four years Superior has become one of the premier restoration companies in Western Canada with branches in Vancouver, Abbotsford, Calgary and Ontario coming soon.

Company President Joe Tolzmann attributes the company’s success and growth to their high quality control standards and Superior’s highly trained technicians, who are among the best in the business. Tolzmann says the company has a proven track record and “compromising the quality of our service to meet profit targets is not an option for us. The only way for us to survive and prosper is to increase efficiency and we’ve done that.”

“We’ve created a results based working environment that nurtures, attracts and retains the best talent.” Superior has a qualified and diversified team willing and capable to meet and resolve any challenge. Tolzmann says the company employs the best in technology and advanced techniques to keep it at the forefront of the restoration business.

“Among our technological tools is a thermal imaging camera. This allows us to minimize disruption on the job site, to minimize the damage and the costs automatically. We make sure the job is done right and nothing is left behind. Another example is injecti-dry flooring system where we dry out floors without replacing them. That also shortens the length of time we spend on site. And it saves huge on replacement costs and on contents pack-out time.”

The company also uses the Xactimate system which streamlines claims estimating to achieve greater speed and accuracy in claims handling.

Superior follows a model of clear and open communication with all stakeholders using real time data to prevent unnecessary calls to brokers and adjusters from the insureds.

“We continually follow industry trends and work closely with our stakeholders to identify the changes and customize our processes to their requirements.” Tolzmann says “We have also developed individual custom streamlined processes for different segments; from more complex Condo/Strata claims with multiple unit owners involving additional stakeholders for each of their own betterments and contents all in addition to the original as build insured under Condo/Strata policies; to commercial shopping malls, hotels, institutional and industrial buildings with improvements and contents separate from original structures; to less complex single family dwellings.”

Mayank Anand, VP of Business Development, says we built a brand known for superior service.’ Superior stays ahead of the curve through cost reduction, tighter controls, performance and efficiency; which are key in adapting to the changing dynamics of the insurance industry. “For us customer service is not just another term, it is our belief, culture and purpose as to why we are in this business. It’s always about doing the right thing” says Anand.

“We keep everyone informed about the latest trends by providing training seminars. This ensures that brokers, insurers & adjusters are comfortable with the terminologies and appropriate service standards used in the restoration industry. We work towards getting everyone on the same page.”

Ken Hwang, Superior’s VP of Operations, says the company goal is to restore peoples’ homes and businesses to a pre-loss state with the least amount of disruption and to ensure costs are kept to a minimum.

“We work hard on developing and streamlining the process to improve the operational efficiency and to collect data along the way in order to have it instantly available for our stakeholders. Our team is continuously working on improving our processes and keeping up to date with the often changing requirements of our clients.”

Superior emphasizes consistency and all their technicians in each city are trained to maintain the highest quality control standards. This ensures our clients always receive the same Superior service whether we work on a water loss in a condo high rise in Vancouver or a fire loss in an institution in Calgary.

“It is rewarding and motivating to see at the end of each claim, that the insured is grateful for our help and the brokers, adjusters and insurers repeatedly increasing our workload allowing us to continue to grow.” says Hwang.

*This article was featured in Insurance People Magazine*