The Role of Moisture Mapping in Hurricane Prep and Response
At CTEH, preparedness is one of our core values. That’s why Chad Harting, disaster recovery project manager, and his team are already gearing up for hurricane season.
One of the biggest threats of a hurricane is flooding and subsequent water damage. But thanks to moisture mapping technology, we’re able to help keep our client’s buildings, businesses and employees safe.
Chad answered some questions you may have about moisture mapping and how to be prepared:
What is moisture mapping?
Moisture mapping is the instrumental and observational assessment of possible water intrusion affecting specific building materials and structures following a significant water event like flooding from a hurricane or pipes freezing and bursting. In layperson terms - we’re using instruments and our expertise to investigate and map where moisture is (or is not) in parts of a building after a flood event.
Our observations - both visual and from instruments - are recorded as data on floorplans made by the moisture mapping team using specific color codes, icons, and acronyms. These moisture impact data maps are then provided to our client as documentation regarding if, where, and to what degree water intrusion has occurred. Our moisture maps allow you to reconstruct a picture of the structure at a point in time, informing the narrative of the recovery for stakeholders later on.
How do you and your team prepare for hurricane season?
Our preparation involves three main components:
- Equipment checks and upgrades. Before we deploy on a response, we must trust our diagnostic equipment's accuracy and reliability. Frequent equipment inventory, calibration, and dispersion among our satellite CTEH offices ensure the equipment is in the right hands and ready to go.
- Personnel education. True readiness requires knowledge about our equipment, procedure, and client expectations for product delivery. Prior to their deployment, CTEH provides virtual and in-person trainings for hundreds of project managers, supervisors, and rapid responders.
- Safety Checks. CTEH has a large team of responders who deploy to hurricane-damaged areas. Knowing what hazards to look for helps make the best recommendations to keep our disaster area responders safe. As such, every project starts with a site health and safety plan and every day begins with a safety briefing.
How can businesses prepare?
Owners and occupants of commercial and residential structures should always follow NOAA’s hurricane preparedness guidelines and state and local recommendations regarding imminent danger and probable damage from a weather event. We also recommend a quick call to their insurance provider to discuss current coverage and liability scenarios should hurricane damage occur. Finally, consult experts like CTEH to help understand why you should avoid contact with floodwaters and find preparedness resources.
Why is moisture mapping time-sensitive?
Assessing the moisture content of a structure's materials and air needs to be done as quickly as possible following an impact event. Conditions can change rapidly after a hurricane; the sun may come out - causing some areas to dry and appear unimpacted - or it may rain for four to five more days. If the building has lost power, the structure’s climate and condition can deteriorate very quickly. The initial moisture assessment data provides a working baseline. Areas with high moisture content or even active water intrusion must be addressed immediately to prevent further damage and the growth and spread of mold. If we act fast, we can quickly and confidently deploy a mitigation strategy safely and effectively.
What happens after your team has done a moisture mapping test?
Our moisture mapping data is uploaded to our Carbon CM system immediately, which allows our client to have the moisture impact data in hand for completed areas in real-time rather than waiting for the completion of the entire structure. It is not uncommon for a client to begin deploying drying and other mitigation strategies right behind our mapping teams. We have a fleet of industrial hygienists and toxicologists ready to deploy to provide a solution should mold, asbestos, toxic water conditions, or other issues be detected.
For more information on how CTEH can help your business before, during or after a storm, visit our website.