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By Michael Hilton

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The art of water damage restoration has progressed exponentially over the past 25 years and it has come a long way since the days when a carpet cleaner would arrive at your home with a shop vac and a box fan to extract the water from your flood damaged carpet and try to get the carpet dry within 4-5 days. Today's water damage specialist now participates in the science of restorative drying. With the identification and classification of numerous carcinogenic and toxigenic molds and bacteria, today's restoration professional must be properly trained and standards (which must be adhered to) are much stricter than in days past.

Even an apparent "simple" flooding incident can turn into a health crisis for building occupants if the flooding situation is not handled properly. Hurricane Andrew of 1992 and the Mississippi flood of 1993 and the lingering health complaints that followed were notable examples of the need for a Water Damage Restoration standard and an organized approach to training restoration specialists.

In 1994-1995, the Carpet Cleaning Industry, The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI), EPA, the Restorative Drying Industry, and numerous Environmental management specialists, came together to discuss and to develop The IICRC Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration S500-94.

This water damage standard was the first of its kind and laid the groundwork for an organized approach to restored facilities exposed to flood damage. As we worked on this standard, it became apparent that this standard must define a standardized procedure for dealing with all types of flooding situations in a variety of complex environmental conditions. This standard attempted to lay out a step by step procedure for restorers to follow and became the basis for many restorative drying training programs. While this standard has gone through numerous changes over the years, its relevance and importance as a restoration "rule book" continues to define the way flooding situations should be handled.

In hiring a Restoration Specialist, make sure they are aware of the existence of this standard and follow the procedures outlined. You may obtain a copy of this standard from The IICRC.org.

About the Author
Michael Hilton was the original creator of Carpet Buyers Handbook. Having owned and operated a carpet wholesale company, Hilton has a vast knowledge about all-things carpet related as well as other types of flooring.

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