Fire sprinkler systems help prevent fires from rapidly spreading throughout a warehouse. They're a vital part of limiting damage and making sure employees are safe since warehouses are typically full of combustible inventory items. Unfortunately, one downside of a fire sprinkler system is that it can cause substantial water damage to your warehouse when it puts out a fire.
While the water damage from sprinklers will be less severe than the damage from an uncontrolled fire, you'll still need to spend a significant amount of time restoring your warehouse after the sprinklers were activated. To learn what you need to do in order to repair water damage to your warehouse after the sprinklers put out a fire, read on.
Dry the Area and Remove Standing Water
In a warehouse environment, it's important to dry out the area where the fire sprinklers went off as soon as possible. Standing water will increase the humidity in your warehouse as it evaporates, and high humidity levels can be disastrous for your inventory. Cardboard boxes will start to fall apart if they absorb too much moisture, and high humidity can cause mold to start growing on wooden pallets. This can happen to inventory even in areas that weren't under the sprinklers, so you need to take quick action in order to prevent further inventory loss.
All of the standing water in your warehouse needs to be removed using an industrial vacuum. After as much water as possible has been removed, dehumidifiers and high-powered fans need to be set up in the area where the fire sprinklers went off. Drying out a large space like a warehouse can take quite some time, but it's important to be patient and make sure everything is completely dry in order to stop any more inventory damage.
Inspect Metal Racks and Beams for Corrosion
The soot that's released into the air by a raging fire is highly acidic, so it can cause metal equipment like pallet racks and support beams to corrode. If water from the fire sprinkler system mixes with the soot, corrosion will occur even faster.
Before reopening your warehouse after the fire, make sure that you have all the metal components near the fire inspected to make sure they're still safe to use. Pallet racks, for example, need to be free of corrosion so that they're able to support the weight of your inventory. Heavy equipment like forklifts should also be inspected by a professional to make sure that they haven't been damaged by corrosion.
Assess Inventory Loss
You'll need to take stock of all your inventory, even if it wasn't near where the fire occurred. If you were unable to dry out your warehouse quickly enough after the sprinklers turned on, the extremely high humidity may have damaged sensitive items like electronics. Items packaged in waterproof plastic can often be salvaged if they weren't damaged by the fire itself. Items packaged in cardboard, however, are likely to be lost if they were exposed to high humidity or the water from the sprinkler system.
If your warehouse has suffered from water damage due to its fire sprinklers activating, you should call an industrial water damage restoration service as soon as you can. Drying out the area and reducing humidity will help preserve the rest of your inventory, so it's important to begin the process quickly. They can also help you navigate the process of filing a claim with your insurance company to replace the inventory you've lost and to restore your warehouse to operating condition.
For more information about industrial water damage restoration, contact a local company.