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Disaster recovery and restoration can be veiled in mystery to the many who have not undertaken specific training. This glossary explains technical terms to assist both report writing and the understanding of those technical terms so often misunderstood.


The Disaster Advice Glossary and its contents are the protected copyright of Disaster Advice


A decorative paneling placed on the lower 36 32 or 30 inches of a wall. Wainscot usually has a wood base or frame at the top sides and bottom while having wood paneling panel inserts in the middle. Restorative Drying Note Wainscot and the drywall or plaster wall behind the wainscot when saturated should be dried from the opposite wall with a wall drying system if the wall is an interior wall. If the wet wainscot walls are facing the outside exterior wall you may need to get authorization to drill holes above the wainscot in the drywall or plaster to install a wall drying system. In outside facing walls wainscot drying is further complicated because of insulation both wet and dry and sheer panels.


Walk-off Mat

A sheet of material placed at building entrances to remove gritty soil from the soles of shoes. Quality walk-off mats trap finer soil so it doesn%u0027t get picked up and spread throughout the building. As a general rule walk-off mats should be as wide as the doorway and ideally 8%u0027 to 12%u0027 long.


Wall and Ceiling Drying

One of several types of engineering controls that are used to successfully dry interior walls of a building before moulds are allowed to start growing after a flooding event and before collateral damage occurs. See Collateral Damage Drywall Moisture Control


Wall Cavities

Interstitial spaces between walls which are designed in part to reduce the influences of outside atmospheres humidity and climate from entraining into the interior part of the building. Education Note During water damage mitigation wall cavities both inside walls and outside facing walls must be thoroughly dried before fungi is allowed to grow. See Drywall Insulation Moisture Control Pockets of Saturation


Wall Ceiling and Floor Drying Systems

A mechanical dehumidification and engineering control method employed to dry wet walls ceilings and floors wall cavities and built-in components in place in a relatively short period of time with little or no damage to the finished materials. See Injectidry TurboVent Wallintruder



A Non-Invasive Wall Ceiling and Floor Drying System. A Trademarked machine that introduces forced air into wall cavities for the purpose of drying wet wall cavities within an acceptable drying period. The difference between the Wallintruder and its competitors the manufacturer states you do not need to drill holes into walls or wet ceilings. Application of dry air is through the removal of wall outlets switch plates and ceiling fixtures where large amounts of dryer air consumes interior wall spaces. See Injectidry TurboVent



A process using fresh water and detergents or soaps to remove surface or imbedded contaminates followed by thorough clean water rinsing and drying. Health and Safety Note Washing is the preferred method by the Center of Disease Control and Prevention and local health departments to clean and sanitize hands before handling food or touching the body after use of toilet facilities. Not doing so is a code violation for workers handling food and during food processing. Mitigation Note Washing as it relates to a flooded building is the process using fresh water and detergents to remove surface or imbedded contaminates followed by thorough clean water rinsing and drying of the building. Washing in this instance is the preferred method to remove surface contaminates including clean and gray water contamination. Not providing proper washing and cleaning for a building after a flood has resulted in numerous law suits civil penalties and bad-faith claims. See Clean Water Contamination Gray Water Contamination Black Water Contamination


Waste Hauling and Disposal Costs

The attirbutable and direct job related costs for the handling transportation and legal disposal of construction waste from a work site. See Dump Fees



Under an insurance policy water means water H2O alone whether frozen or not or any liquid or sludge which contains water whether occurring on or away from the insureds property. Education Note Water under an insurance policy is defined as Water from rain or snow surface water flood waves title water overflow or escape of a body of water or spray from any of these whether or not driven by wind. Water which backs up through sewer lines and drains. c Water which escapes from any system designed to drain water away from a dwelling or residential premises including but not limited to roof gutters downspouts sump-pumps sump-pump wells leach fields seepage pits septic tanks or drainage fields and channels. d Water which is below ground level whether occurring naturally or not including water which exerts pressure on or seeps or leaks through a building sidewalk driveway wall foundation swimming pool or any portion of the insureds premises.



In general water damage mitigation terms water is the %u0022catalyst%u0022 that is required to cause or result in a flooding event or occurrence.


Water and Moisture Migration

Education Note The spread of water as a liquid over a surface on and into other surfaces. Water spreads laterally on a flat surface it migrates upwards in the form of wicking it moves downward through gravity. Water can change from a liquid to a vapour and condense back to a liquid state on to non-effected materials and areas.


Water Claw

The Water Claw is a manufactured surface extraction tool for sub-surface extraction of water general liquid spills and animal urine treatments in carpets. More information about the Water Claw process can be acquired by contacting Pearl Technology at 888/400-3550.


Water Damage

1 The ability of water to cause swelling and other physical damage to building and content materials when wet or damp. 2 The natural ability of water to harbor microscopic contaminates and allow other environmental contaminates to grow because of the presence of water and moisture resulting in microscopic damage. See Cleanup Mitigation Remediation


Water Damage Industry Standards of Care

An individual or company technician who has been properly trained and successfully completed industry water damage/water remediation certification courses. An individual or company who subscribes to and applies the industry standards of care. These standards of care are found in IICRC Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration S500-94 and subsequent 1999 Revision called S500-99 IICRC training and certification ASCR-Water Loss Institute training and certification Suggested Guidelines for Remediation of Damage from Sewage Backflows into Buildings by Dr. Michael Berry Deputy Director of EPA and other scientific papers and publications to name a few.


Water Damage Occurrence

The event or incident that caused the water damage.


Water Damage Recovery

A term in the water damage industry that describes the activity of water removal. For example water damage recovery services for fires floods earthquakes pipe breaks hurricanes and wind storms.


Water Damage Technician WDT

An individual who has successfully passed the IICRC two-day technician basic training course on water damage remediation and technology and who remains an IICRC member in good standing.


Water Damege Technician Acquired Infections and Disease

Health and Safety Note Infections and disease acquired as occupational exposures to certain surface water and airborne contaminates present in the water damage mitigation industry. See Allergy Aspergillosis Athletes Foot Bloodborne Pathogens Conjunctivitis Contact Dermatitis Cryptococcoses Dysentery Infections Finger Nail Fungus Hepatitis-A Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis Legionella Pneumonitis Occupational Related Respiratory Diseases Pink-Eye Tetanus Toxins


Water Loss Institute

A professional organization inside ASCR which through seminars educates contractors and adjusters in state-of-the-art methods of wet building mitigation and restorative drying. See ASCR


Water Mark

A stain on a material caused by the drying of water. Education Note When water marks are still wet they may be completely removed in some instances. When water marks dry especially on cotton and silk fabrics or wall paper the water mark often becomes permanent damage. See Water Stains


Water Migration

The ability of water as a liquid to disperse down through a building or across a floor where the flow and movement of water is seeking a lower level.


Water Soluble

Materials that immediately or over time dissolve in water.


Water Stains

In water damage mitigation it is the permanent damage condition brought about from surface water as its move upward into a material. Education Note Through capillary action once the material has absorbed surface moisture the spot where absorption stops results in a water mark if the building material or fabric is allowed to dry. Some fresh water marks can be eliminated if the material typically a fabric is immersed in water or it becomes totally wet on all sides. For example the lower wet portion of a drape which can be completely removed and immersed in water then carefully rung out and placed and sealed in a plastic bag. The drape must be immediately sent to a dry cleaner. Liability Note Make sure you have the customers written permission and they understand up-front this method is only an attempt to salvage the material from permanent water staining and you have determined the fabric material is structurally sound and worth attempting salvage. See Capillary Action Wicking



A high pressure stream of water used to remove and strip-away surface contaminates paint finishes and coatings. See Dry-ice Blasting Sand Blasting



Microorganisms parasites and other organisms that grow and thrive in fresh moving water. Microorganism parasites and other living organisms including anaerobic organisms that thrive in static and stagnant water. c Chemicals and other agents that have been identified in catastrophic flood waters.


Weep Holes

Small round openings in drywall plaster and sheer paneling to allow drainage of water and the escape of moisture and vapour pressure. Restorative Drying Note Weep holes are placed behind the removed cove base and just above the mud sill or sill plate. Depending on the method of drying one or two weep holes will be placed in each wet wall cavity or every 16 inches. In commercial structures every 20 inches.


Wet Building Materials

A term in the water damage and insurance industry describing building materials that are effected by water moisture or water vapour. Wet building materials are those materials which molecules of water have infiltrated the spaces between or have attached to the molecules of the material that has been effected.


Wet Cleaning

A cleaning process using water detergents and rinsing followed by drying. Health and Education Note In sewage contamination wet cleaning only is applied after all of the gross sewage contamination has been removed and cleaned up. Wet cleaning of a sewage contamination includes two equal cleanings using detergents scrubbing rinsing a topical disinfectant followed by a thorough rinsing and finally fast drying of all affected salvageable surfaces.


Wet deposition Area

The area in a flooded building that received the largest amount of standing water flooding sewage contamination or damage from water or effluents. All other wet areas are secondary in their treatment unless safety and health issues exist.


Wet Scrubbing

The mechanical process used to loosen and remove soil debris silt sewage to paint from a surface. Education Note Wet scrubbing can be a light scrubbing action using sponges towels and hand scrub brushes more aggressive action using floor buffers to machines using a wet sanding-scrubbing process.



Equipment originally made for the pesticide industry and over the past twenty five years they have been adapted to meet the needs of the insurance restoration industry. Wet foggers are electric fine-micro-mist foggers that takes a liquid and disperses it into a mist or fog. The purpose of the wet-fogging equipment is to treat large areas and effected surfaces with a chemical mist. Most mist products are manufactured for the control pairing or masking of an offensive odour while leaving a more pleasing trace-odour. See Thermal-Foggers


Wet-Rot Fungi

Fungus specific to wood decay wet-rot and dry-rot which includes many of the known fungal species. Education Note Wet-rot fungi Coniophora cerebella can be found in building framing to hardwood floors it is called a cellular fungus. Wet-rot fungi eats the inner pulp area of the wet or damp wood. It can be seen in the rotting of fence posts window sills and wooden sheds which are close to the ground but not surprising wet rot fungi can also be identified in roof rafters and gables. Like termites wet-rot fungi follows the grain of the wood. See Dry-Rot Fungi Brown-Rot Fungi White-Rot Fungi



A portable vacuum machine cable of removing water from a surface. Education Note A wet-vac is usually for small cleanup jobs requiring a minor amount of equipment and services to contain and remove flooding followed by drying. For larger floods a wet-vac is usually not sufficient nor practical. A wet-vac should not be confused with a dry-vac. Some dry-vacs can remove both water and dry materials while other dry-vacuums can support dry materials only. While positioned indoors a wet-vac should contain fresh water floods only. The reason is exhausting biological materials indoors that can cause a health concern to persons who breathe in spores bacteria and viruses.



An abbreviation for the World Floor Covering Association. The WFCA is the worlds largest floor covering trade association. Information on the WFCA can be found at 800/624-6880 or www.wfca.org.


White-Rot Fungi

A fungus that appears white in color when viable that breaks down both the cellulose and lignin components of wood. See Brown-Rot Fungi Dry-Rot Fungi Wet-Rot Fungi



The upper movement of water in a water damage building that is absorbed by capillary action. A condition caused by surface water as it moves upward into a porous building material through absorption and capillary action. See Capillary Action Water Stains


Wide-Spectrum Disinfectant

A term used for a particular disinfectant chemical that reports to kill more than one organism type typically including most fungi bacteria and viruses.



A word often describing a single horizontal section of a material. Several widths of a fabric for example aew sewn together to make one panel of a drape. Education Note Width is sometimes referred to as the width of a fabric the width of a room or the width of a building. Many times the width of an item is thought of as the shorter side of a room or fabric when taking into consideration %u0022width times length.%u0022


Wind Force

The force of the relative outside wind on a building along with temperature and humidity against the resistance engineering and structural components of the building. Education Note The high outside wind force pressure and humidity can result in significant interior alterations and damage.


Window of Opportunity

The interval between the primary time of damage and the time where secondary damage most likely will start. The window of opportunity is before that period of time more damage or secondary damage occurs.


Wipe Sampling

One of several types of collection materials including cotton balls swabs to specially prepared wipes that absorb and collect and retain surface matter for laboratory identification. Wipe sampling can be used to collect toxic materials and with satisfactory result it may be used as a method to remove toxic substances with larger pads or special material diapers. See Adsorbent Sampling Air Sampling Bulk Material Sampling Soil Sampling Surface Sampling Swab Sampling Tape Lift Sampling Water Sampling Vacuum Sampling


Wipe Tests

Sampling methods used to determine the presence of biological or hazardous materials on a surface. Mitigation Note For example residual pesticides and PCBs from fire and water damages are two chemicals where wipe samples may be useful. Wipe tests are used to determine the presence of certain chemical and biological agents such as lead PCBs mercury nickel cadmium chromium sulphur compounds arsenic carcinogenic amines radionuclides corrosives dusts and microbes. Wipe Tests may be used as clearance and sanitary test in determining the absence of a certain material chemical or agent. See Smear Tabs Surface Sampling Kits Swab Sampling Tape-lift Sampling Wipe Sampling


Withdrawal of Water

The removal of standing water from substructure soil or a basement either from evaporization extraction or sump-pump.


Wood Rot

In building materials a decaying and rotting condition to solid wood and wood products that decomposes the wood cellulose through excess moisture or water and resulting fungi. See Dry Rot Fungi Rot Poria Wet Rot Fungi


Work Authorisation

The written authorization by the building owner allowing the contractor to proceed with the work as agreed.


Work Force

The combined total of trained supervisors technicians and subcontractors that make up the work force of the contractor.


Work Order

A written acceptance notice and authorization to the contractor by the building owner or a written notice to employees and subcontractors by the contractor to proceed with the work as agreed and scheduled.


Working Level

The level of activity expected or that can be sustained during work over an 8-hour work day. Work levels will change depending on the hazard and safety work activity temperature and humidity level of personal protection confined space ergonomics and exhaustion.


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