Water Damage: How to Recover Everything if It Happened in a Hospital Setting?
You're reading Entrepreneur Georgia, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.
Water damage is always possible in every environment. But what if it appeared in the middle of a hospital setting?
Water damage is one of the big problems that are often experienced by hospitals. In many cases, water damage can bring down the hospital's business, and while it may not sometimes result in an internal emergency, it almost always kills the budget. Some examples of causes of water damage are flooding that hit the area where the hospital is located, leaks in the main water tanks, damage to plumbing, to minor problems such as blockages in parts of the sewage system such as toilets. However small it is, water damage must be addressed immediately because the smallest impact is discomfort that can affect many people, be it patients, guests, or medical workers.
Of course, as said above, the water damage will bring the hospital bad consequences, affecting its operations and properties. A situation of water damage in a hospital environment can lead to damage to building structures, medical devices, supporting equipment, loss, and damage to archives, and what are more dire, dangerous consequences for the patients being treated!
Handling the consequences of water damage can drain a lot of resources owned by the hospital concerned. In many cases, self-cleaning is not possible, and as such, professional assistance is absolutely necessary. Hospital cleaning cannot be equated with cleaning other environments. Strict sanitation and special safety standards are two factors why hospital cleaning has to be many times more thorough. Not only that, but the use of sophisticated equipment is also more needed.
We haven't discussed the restoration costs that must be borne later. The cleaning has been completed and of course, some of the damaged parts must be restored. Some damage usually cannot be repaired but must be replaced. For example, nurse scrubs and carpets that have been soaked in water for a long time must be replaced. Some materials tend to be less resistant to waterlogging.
Impact on overall patient care
Above we are more focused on property damage. However, as a healthcare institution, the greatest impact will be on the quality of patient care and other types of medical services. Imagine if water had leaked and entered the X-ray room, of course, the X-ray irradiation facility would be canceled. Cancellations of scheduled X-ray services will have cascading consequences down the line. Likewise, if a pool of water enters the operating room, there are many lives at stake.
Usually, water damage will attack electrical installations first and that will result in various electronic equipment not being able to work as they should. Various critical test results and patient records that are usually accessible digitally can no longer be accessed while physical records are usually damaged due to being submerged in water. Of course, it will affect the lives of many people.
This "little doomsday" scenario will lead to disastrous effects that one might not have imagined before. For example serious service backlog damage, loss or destruction of large data, the sudden drastic increase in workload, and worst of all, the collapse of the reputation of the hospital in the eyes of society.
When a hospital completely collapses, it can no longer provide medical or emergency services and therefore urgent evacuation measures are required. The patient evacuation process requires coordination with the receiving hospital and it usually involves multiple communication and logistics chains.
How to recover from water damage?
First of all, any water incidents must be reported immediately to the proper authorities. In the case of hospitals, it is facility management. The sooner an incident is reported, the sooner it can be dealt with. In emergency cases, it may be necessary to act even before reporting, for example in cases of internal water leaks. But in general, the slower the reporting, the greater the risk of damage.
What is recommended
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends a response should be within 24 to 48 hours, considering the fungal development process. That's why it's important to have a water damage recovery service in contact before an unexpected incident occurs. Trained contractors have their own method of healing a hospital environment exposed to water damage. Even though they may have different approaches, in general, they start from the same thing, for example preventing or limiting the growth of mold on surfaces that were once waterlogged. Optimal mold prevention will save on overall recovery costs. Mushrooms that are already growing, even though they seem trivial, require handling that drains a lot of resources.
Now that water disaster recovery technology has developed so rapidly, however, the existence of sophisticated equipment often cannot recover everything, for example, some absorbent materials will not dry completely. Some of these include fiberglass insulation, ceiling tiles, and maybe some types of carpet. Of course, if this bad situation occurs, replacement is recommended. Some parts may not dry completely but replacing them would be an unbearable cost. So, a trained contractor is needed to recover as much as possible with some cost considerations. Usually, they have a special method for drying structures that are already damaged by water with a success rate above 90 percent.
A few things a restoration contractor should do
The first action is usually to cover the affected area, turn off the ventilation system, apply negative pressure to the affected area by utilizing exhaust ventilation, dispose of items that cannot be saved anymore, seal all equipment from the possibility of further water seepage, and carry out a drying process combined with the disinfection process.
After all that has been done, complete documentation must be provided to the client, in this case, the hospital, so that the decision-makers can understand the extent of the damage, what can and cannot be saved, and most importantly how much they will have to pay to continue the function of the hospital as ever. To prevent infection from spreading through inadequate cleaning and recovery processes, infection control personnel usually have to be involved.