Living in a flood plane is not a requisite for sustaining interior water damage in a private residence or a commercial building. There's always the washing machine that decides to not shut off. Or the ruptured hot water heater. Or the torrential rain that found the tiniest crack in the roof. Water damage can be painfully destructive and dry-out services also leave behind the dangers of mold.

First, call the insurance company. Most have 24/7 crews that can begin immediate damage control. This is to the insurance company's benefit since they want to do everything possible to minimize damage by preventing additional spreading and seepage. This first-responder crew to rush into action to begin water removal, rip out soaked carpet and padding, and set up industrial drying fans. A crew member should return at least once each day to monitor the drying process. Frequently, it's the crew foreman who makes a thorough inspection of the damaged premises, documenting each item and its level of needed repair. Anything that is not salvageable is also listed.

There is an official guide book for professional water damage restoration and property flood damage. It lists three categories, with each category determined by the amount of contamination present in the water. This is why it's important to identify immediately the original source of the floodwater.

Category 1 is water from a clean source, such as the washing machine or water heater mentioned above. However, insurance companies and restoration workers know that even clean water can change for the worse if remedial efforts don't begin ASAP. Damage in this class usually includes only a portion of a room.

Category 2 is water that could cause health concerns, especially if ingested. There are times when dishwasher and washing machine water can fall under this heading, but definitely urine-containing toilet water. This is more water, more absorption and water in plywood, structural wood such as flooring, and more.

Category 3 is the worst because it's always a source for severely unsanitary bacterial growth. Damage includes ceilings, walls, carpet, sub-floor and more.

Mold can begin growing within 24 to 48 hours. Anything porous, such as drywall, may need to be cut out and replaced. Discard any wet insulation and move all wet items, including furniture, from the home or building to aid in the mold remediation process. For mold abatement, everything must be completely dry inside before beginning disinfecting, sanitizing and mold removal.