Pets Starting Fires During the Holidays in Oconee County
We respond to fire damage emergencies 24-hours a day in Oconee and South Anderson Counties.
The winter season is a busy time for all, our pets included! According to the American Red Cross, more home fires occur during December and January each year on Saturdays and Sundays. Our pets are curious creatures responsible for starting approximately 750 fires each year in the United States. Here are some fire safety tips for pets from the National Fire Protection Association:
- Some pets are chewers. Watch pets to make sure they don’t chew through electrical cords. Have any problems checked by a professional.
- Keep pets away from stoves and countertops
- Keep pets away from candles, lamps, and space heaters
- Always use a metal or heat-tempered glass screen on a fireplace and keep it in place
- Keep pets away from a chimney’s outside vents.
- Have a “pet-free zone” of at least three feet away from the fireplace. Glass doors and screens can stay dangerously hot for several hours after the fire goes out.
Call Us Today!
When you have a fire damage emergency in your Oconee County home or business, you can rely on our team at SERVPRO of Oconee/South Anderson Counties to restore the damage “Like it never even happened.” Call us today at 864.916.4160.
Franchises are independently owned and operated.
HOW CLUTTER AFFECTS INDOOR AIR QUALITY
The word clutter shows that it means no good. It generally refers to mess. It talks about the years and years of stuff that has been accumulated. With respect to air quality, clutter is poisonous. The more stuff you have, the more you are likely to pollute the air in the house. That is because you are providing more locations for clutter to feed and grow on.
Here’s the impact clutter can have on the quality of your air.
- Some Pollutants are Harder to Clean
Pollutants like from water damage can be detrimental to the health of your indoor air. They hide in moist areas where most families store things, areas like garage, kitchen and laundry room. They can lead to health problems and trigger allergens and asthma.
- Clutter is hard to clean after a while
Sometimes cleaning a room you’ve been meaning to clean for a while is hard to do. It’s because you don’t feel like cleaning, but after a while, letting clutter buildup makes it harder to get rid of. Clutter can lead to dust build up in forgettable areas like cluttered tabletops, shelving and dressers.
Dust is one of the leading causes of poor indoor air quality since your home’s HVAC system’s filter has to work harder to trap dust.
- Clutter leads to less air circulation
Poor air circulation is bas for your health, so making sure your home has good air circulation is important. When you take time to declutter those areas you’ve been putting off for w awhile, try opening a window as you clean. Fresh air is a great way to improve air circulation and indoor air quality.
If you are seeking for proper cleaning of your home, call SERVPRO of Pickens County. We understand the stress and worry. Our technicians are trained to use specialized cleaning and disposal techniques. Call us at 864.855.3993!
DISINFECT YOUR WORKSPACE AND KEEP IT GERM FREE
The physical environment of the workplace has a significant effort on the way that we work. When our space is a mess, so are we.
Whether you worked in an office or in a cubicle, you probably worked to keep it clean and disinfected. When you’re concerned about keeping yourself safe from sickness-causing germs, you’re probably ready to bust out some serious chemicals to help you to help you clean and disinfect your cubicle, desk, office, or home office. Unfortunately, while disinfectants can be a powerful safeguard against bacteria and viruses, they can also contain some pretty scary chemicals that can have serious health effects on you and your co-workers. All cleaning products are not created equal and not all of them are disinfectants. Only products registered by the Environmental Protection Agency which have gone under specific testing to ensure their efficacy. Also, just because a disinfectant can be used to effectively kill germs and bacteria does not mean it’s safe to come into contact with your skin, eyes and lungs.
SERVPRO of Pickens offers disinfection services. We work to clean and sanitize office buildings and other commercial facilities. We train our cleaners to sanitize surfaces based on the recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC). We follow their guidelines and use various methods and products to clean surfaces and limit the spread of bacteria and viruses.
The best results come when the right tools are used, and consumer cleaning products don’t always provide the desired outcome. Our team has access to industrial strength chemicals, as well as specialized equipment that’s much more effective than that found in stores. All the cleaning supplies we use are registered with the EPA, so they’re sure to be eco-friendly.
When searching for a disinfection service, be sure to choose a company that is flexible and follows guidelines that protect workers’ safety and health. Call us at 864.855.3993
5 Things You Need To Know About Water Damage Statistics
When a pipe bursts, a drain backs up, or a flood occurs in your home, it can be hard to see past the mess. A million questions will run through your mind.
What do I do now?
What’s going to happen?
Is my stuff ruined?
And the most important question of all: Will my homeowner’s insurance cover the damage?
There’s no doubt about it. Water damage is extremely stressful, and the more you know about it, the better you’ll be able to decide how to address it. Here are five things that every homeowner needs to know about water damage.
1. There are different insurance policies for flood damage and water damage.
You might think that water is water, whether it’s from flooding or a burst pipe, but flood damage is not covered under homeowner’s insurance. If you live in an area likely to experience flooding, you will probably already have a separate policy through the National Flood Insurance Policy (NFIP). When you report the claim to the insurance company, make sure to specify whether the claim is for water damage or for flood damage, so they can begin adjusting your claim correctly.
2. Not all water damage is covered by your insurance.
It is a good idea to look over your insurance policy and familiarize yourself with any exclusion to your water damage coverage. For instance, most policies cover sudden damage, like water damage from a really bad storm or from an overflowing washing machine. On the other hand, any water damage that happens because you didn’t maintain the property may be excluded, as well as gradual leaks that caused water damage over time.
3. Once water damage has happened, the clock is ticking before it gets worse.
When your property has been water damaged, you don’t have the luxury of waiting around for a convenient time to start the cleanup. Secondary damage from mold growth can present serious health risks associated with mold in the living environment.
Mold spores are everywhere, but they need moisture and a nutrient source to grow. And that is exactly what your wet carpet or drywall offers.
There is a 24 to 48 hour window from the time something gets wet until mold CAN begin to grow. After that time, mold will multiply rapidly. When mold growth is widespread, you may need the services of SERVPRO mold remediation service to safely treat and remove the mold.
To prevent mold growth, you will need to get your property completely dry again within that 48-hour window. To do this, you’ll need to contact a company that specializes in water damage restoration and emergency water extraction. They will have the professional water removal equipment and drying equipment to get the job done as quickly as possible. Many have 24-hour a day emergency hotlines, so you can start recovering your property almost immediately.
4. Your insurance company needs to know right away.
It’s a good idea to call your insurance company right away when you discover water damage. Your insurance agent can start the claims process immediately, as well as guide you through the first steps you will need to take to protect your property from more damage, like stopping the source of the water at the main water turnoff.
5. The pollution level of the water is important.
Water damage is categorized as one of three levels by how polluted the water source was that caused the damage.
Category 1: Water from a clean water source, like a fresh water line for a dishwasher. This water will not cause illness or any ill effects.
Category 2: Water that may cause illness through contact. It may have bacteria in it,
Even though water may start out as Category 1, that doesn’t mean it will stay that way. Any contamination that the water touches, such as dirty carpeting or soil from the ground, can change water damage Category to 2 or even Category 3. And since standing breeds bacteria, the longer the water is around, the worse the contamination of your property.
More contamination can mean that the restoration team will have to use more aggressive measures to clean your structure and property, and it might mean that soft furnishings, like your carpet and the carpet pad, may have to be discarded for your safety.
Water damage can be dangerous and expensive, so preventing water damage is an important part of home maintenance. But if you know the basics of what to do once it happens, you can prevent it from doing its worst.
Water Damage Statistics
Water damage covers a broad range of potential loss. Homeowners understand that wear and tear will occur in any circumstance; however, there are a variety of unforeseen events that may trigger water damage. Natural disasters are often given the most blame for water damage, and they should, considering that the majority of damages due to water stem from some sort of outside environmental factor.
Nevertheless, water damage may come in a variety of forms. Understanding the sources of this type of damage is important to not only potentially preventing an incident, but more importantly, to understand where you stand in the eyes of your insurance provider. Water damage in homes most typically comes from the following causes:
- Frozen pipes
- Leaking pipes
- Leaky roof
- Broken washing machine hose
- Plumbing problems
- Insulations issues
The water damage statistics below will highlight the widespread nature of this issue. While many people do not view this as a common occurrence, water damage accounts for a significant number of homeowners insurance claims. The following are some of the most interesting water damage statistics:
- Almost 40 percent of all homeowners have said that they have experienced loss from water damage
- About 93 percent of all water damage can be prevented
- Water damage is the second most frequently filed insurance claim in the United States
- 250 gallons of water is released a day due to a 1/8-inch crack in a pipe
- About 20 percent of all insurance claims related to water damage of some kind
- Billions of dollars in property losses are spent each year as a direct result of water damages
Those homeowners with an understanding of the prospective damages associated with water are much more likely to stop problems before they become major issues. Hopefully these water damage statistics were able to shed some light on the vast complications that may arise from water in the home. If you or your family has experienced water damage and are looking to file a claim, contact Arguello, Hope & Associates for more information.
To get started today, simply fill out a Free Case Review form on this page.
Water Damage Insurance Coverage
First and foremost, homeowners must maintain an understanding of exactly what is and is not covered under their current insurance policy. Without this knowledge, homeowners will be left in shock when disaster strikes and they must pay for these damages out of pocket. Besides purchasing a flood policy for protection, you may be able to add coverage to your existing policy. These additions may cover things such as the following:
- Mold remediation (varies on state)
- Backup of drains or sewers
- Plumbing water damage
- Air conditioning damages
- Water heater damage
Homeowners must be astute in recognizing water damage as early as possible. When a sudden storm, plumbing issue, or sewer backup occurs, knowing what will be covered will ease stress and make the entire repair process much more fluid. To find out more, contact our SERVPRO!
6 Facts About Commercial Water Damage
When it comes to water damage to a residential or commercial property, there is more than meets the eye.
Here are some water facts and figures as they pertain to the restoration industry:
1. Water is capable of dissolving a variety of different substances. In fact, water is known as the “universal solvent” because it dissolves more substances than any other liquid.
2. A sheet of drywall standing upright with its edge sitting in a ½” of water can wick water up to 6 inches in less than three hours.
3. Mold typically begins to grow in 24 to 48 hours in an untreated moist environment.
4. A good indication of a failing hot water heater is a puddle of water underneath it, indicating a slow leak, or rusted or corroded fittings on the top of the heater. If you don’t investigate the leak ASAP, you may quickly flood your home because water heaters are under a great deal of water pressure.
5. There are three categories of water contamination defined in the restoration industry:
- Category One – Water from a clean water source with no substantial risk of causing sickness or discomfort. Examples include water from a broken water supply pipe or an overflowing bath tub.
- Category Two – Water that has a significant degree of chemical, biological, and/or physical contamination. Examples include water from aquariums, dishwasher or clothes washer leaks, and water entering the structure from below grade. Discharged Category One water that sits untreated more for more than 24 hours becomes Category Two.
- Category Three – Water emanating from a grossly unsanitary source or carrying disease causing agents. Examples include discharges from sewer or septic systems/pipes and flood waters. Discharged Category One water that sits more for more than 48 hours becomes Category Three. Discharged Category Two water that sits more for more than 24 hours becomes Category Three.
6. Controlling pathogenic microorganisms during a restoration project may require the use of chemical agents that act as biocides. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has defined three levels of biocidal activity:
- Sanitizers – Designed to reduce the number of microorganisms.
- Disinfectants – Designed to destroy or inhibit the growth of microorganisms but not necessarily their spores.
- Sterilizer – Designed to destroy all microorganisms (fungi/molds, bacteria, viruses, etc.) and their spores.
Can your Business Survive a Flood?
Floods are unavoidable and when disaster strikes, you need to be prepared. This is best achieved by planning in advance and knowing how to deal with the aftermath once the flood has occurred. Below are a few tips on how to prepare your business for a flood before it happens and what to do after it has struck.
Devise a flood plan
Whether you are expecting a flood or not, one of the most important things to have in place is a thought-out flood plan to help reduce the damage caused to your business or property. Your flood plan should cover the following aspects:
In the event of a flood, you need to make sure your staff are not only fully informed of the plan in place, but understand the risks involved. If you are expecting a flood to strike, it may be worth sitting down as a team and working out the best way to approach the situation.
If you work in an office then it is likely that you will have computers or some form of electrical equipment; this can pose a huge risk when it comes to floods so it is important that you include such equipment and risks in your flood plan. The best thing to do is listen out for any news about the flood and whether it is predicted to reach your premises any time soon. If the flood is close to your business, it might be worth switching off all of the electrical equipment and moving it to higher, safer locations before evacuating the building. This way you not only ensure the safety of your employees, but you also reduce the chance of suffering expensive equipment damage and loss.
Sometimes it is impossible to predict sudden events or evacuate the building before disaster hits. Therefore, it is vital that you are prepared for the flood striking when you least expect it. Sandbags can be incredibly useful in a flood, so you should have some spare just in case. Not only can they help to barricade the flood's entry points i.e. the door where the flood is coming in, they can also filter a few sediments commonly found in flood waters.
Dealing with the aftermath
The results of a severe flood can be devastating for everyone. Floods can change the lives of homeowners and entire families. In the business world, flood can affect everything from property safety to business operation, which in turn can put people's livelihoods at risk. This is why it is vital that if you are expecting a flood you have someone who can help you deal with the aftermath and restore your business as soon as possible.
Here at SERVPRO, we offer a fire and flood restoration service that focuses on providing those affected by floods have a stress-free experience when it comes to cleaning up and getting business back to normal a quickly as possible.
Should you encounter flooding at your business, call the professionals at SERVPRO. We will help you get your business back up and running as quickly as possible.
Know The Facts About Business Fire Restoration
Know the Facts about Business Fires
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, as many as one in four businesses that suffer some kind of major disaster do not reopen afterward. It’s true, overcoming a major loss is extremely difficult, but with the right restoration company and team on your side, working hand-in-hand with your insurance company, the chance of your Indianapolis-area company surviving is pretty high!
Depending on the size of the fire, and the amount of damage, some businesses that have come to SERVPRO for help have reopened just days after the fire happened. Thanks to innovations in smoke odor removal, fire damage restoration, and cleaning in general, it is possible for crews to start work nearly immediately after the fire department clears the scene, and have things back up and running in no time. Although, again, that all depends on the severity of the fire. But no matter the severity, recovery is possible!
According to the National Fire Prevention Association, U.S. fire departments responded to about 3,300 office property fires per year between 2007 and 2011. Those fires resulted in about $112 million in property damage each year, and most were in business offices – and happened during business hours. However, the good news is the number of business fires was down a whopping 71 percent from 1980 to 2011.
Here are some other stats from the NFPA:
Time of Day
- Peak time of day for office fires: Noon – 2p.m. (a.k.a. lunch time!)
- 69% happened between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
- The 31% that occurred between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. caused 67% of recorded property damage, because they went undetected longer. This also highlights the need for automatic detection equipment and working sprinkler systems.
- 19% of fires happened on weekends.
Cause of the Business Fires
- 29% were caused by cooking equipment. However, just 6% of these fires caused actual property damage.
- Intentionally-set fires caused the most direct property damage – 21%.
- Electrical equipment is the second leading cause of office fires.
- Just 2% of office fires start in a concealed space like an attic, in the ceiling, or in another conceals space. However, these fires accounted for 13% of the direct property damage.
Containment & Putting it Out
- 4 out of 5 fires were confined to the room of origin.
- 90% of fires were large enough to activate sprinklers, which were effective 88% of the time.
- Deaths per 1,000 stores were 62% lower in offices equipped with sprinklers compared to those without.
Industrial/Manufacturing Facility Fires
The NFPA also has statistics specific to manufacturing facilities. According to their research, there are about 37,000 fires at industrial or manufacturing facilities each year, resulting in 18 deaths, 279 injuries, and $1 billion in property damage. Heating equipment and stop tools were the leading cause – sparking 28 percent of the fires. Mechanical failure or malfunction caused 24 percent of the fires.
Planning for the Worst
As part of your emergency preparation plan, be sure to have a local, reputable restoration company – like SERVPRO– on speed dial. The sooner you get the professionals in cleaning up after the disaster, the sooner you can get back to business!
Fun Storm Facts
Are you afraid of storms, or do you embrace them? Whichever side you fall on, we all have some sort of respect for storms. They can cause great damage, paint beautiful pictures across the sky, alter any outdoor plans, and completely turn a day around. Although you’ve probably experienced many thunderstorms in your life, you might not know a whole lot about them. In today’s post, we’re going to share some fun storm facts that you may not have known!
- The typical thunderstorm is 15 miles in diameter!
- The typical thunderstorm lasts about 30 minutes.
- About 1,800 thunderstorms are happening around the world at any given moment.
- Lightning kills more people than tornadoes every year.
- A severe storm “watch” means that a serious storm has the potential to develop, but has not developed yet. However, a sever storm “warning” means that a storm has developed and been sighted.
- About 10% of storms are classified as “severe”.
- If you’re ever heard the term the “four horsemen” of thunderstorms, it’s referring to wind/tornadoes, hail, floods, and lightning.
- Thunderstorm clouds grow to heights of above 20,000 feet!
- A “derecho” is a type of severe storm that lasts a long time, covers a great distance, and involves serious wind.
- Wind speeds can be up to 120 mph in thunderstorms, even without a tornado.
- A massive hailstorm in Munich, Germany, in 1984 caused over $1 billion worth of damage.
- In 1933, huge hailstones were reported to have fallen around a city in Massachusetts, containing fresh, frozen ducks inside.
Storm Facts, Tips & Safety
Severe Thunderstorm Facts
Thunderstorms are defined as storms that produce thunder and lightning. Severe thunderstorms may also produce:
- High winds
- Sleet or snow
It’s important to note that thunderstorms do not always produce moisture. A storm in which you see lightning and hear thunder but never feel a drop of water is known as a “dry” thunderstorm. Thunderstorms that produce hail and tornadoes are known as “supercell” storms. Storms occur either in clusters or lines; therefore, they may present as a single thunderstorm or as multiple thunderstorms hitting one after the other.
Thunderstorms are caused when moisture from the lower or mid-level part of the atmosphere mixes with warm, unstable air from the ground. Moisture and air then push upwards into the higher atmosphere to form clouds that produce thunder and lightning, as well as potential precipitation. Spring, summer and fall are most conducive to thunderstorms because the sun heats the ground and moisture is more perceptible in the air, especially in humid climates.
Thunderstorms must also be lifted to begin their formation. Some sources of lift include:
- More heat on the ground than in the air
- Changes in atmospheric conditions near mountains
- Weather front changes caused by clashing cold and hot air
- Drylines, or when moist and dry air clash
- Land or sea breezes
Any of these situations can immediately create a thunderstorm without warning, even in the middle of a clear blue day. In many cases, these storms will also be accompanied by lightning. Most will not come with hail or tornadoes, unless they occur in tornado-prone states such as Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Missouri.
Severe thunderstorms are responsible for a significant number of injuries, fatalities and property damage claims across the United States every year. According to statistics reported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 2013:
- Lightning accounted for 23 fatalities, 145 injuries and $23.9 million in property damage.
- Tornadoes caused 55 fatalities, 756 injuries and $3,642.2 million in property damage.
- High winds resulted in 17 deaths, 121 injuries and $626.8 million in property damage.
- Hail led to 4 injuries and $1,234.5 million in property damage.
- Flash flooding ended in 60 deaths, 25 injuries and $956.9 million in property damage.
It’s estimated that at least 867,000 people are affected by thunderstorms every year, with lightning accounting for at least 300 injuries and roughly 60 fatalities. Moreover, at least 16 million thunderstorms occur worldwide every year — and at least 2,000 storms are causing damages and injuries around the world at any given time.
Preparing for Severe Thunderstorm Conditions
Severe thunderstorms can cause significant physical harm as well as damage to your home and land; therefore, it’s imperative to take measures to protect yourself. Some homeowners might invest in lightning rods to better defend their homes against a surge. There are also whole-house surge protectors so you don’t have a power outage during a severe thunderstorm. There are many other types of defenses you can put in place to protect your home against severe thunderstorms. For example, here’s how to prepare for hail, winds, tornadoes and floods.
If you have a car, it’s imperative that you park it in your garage before a severe thunderstorm. Otherwise you could be looking at dents, cracks in the windshield and potentially broken glass on the driver or passenger’s side. While hail is not the most common precipitation to accompany a severe thunderstorm, it can happen. You could also:
- Install wind shutters (i.e. hurricane shutters), designed to defend against high winds and hail.
- Purchase & install pressure or high impact windows.
- Secure doors with heavy-duty bolts at the top and bottom of the door frame.
Hail can cause damage to many parts of the home, but it most commonly hits the roof the hardest. A damaged shingle, in particular, can allow water to get through to the roof deck and cause harm to your ceiling and support beams. This will eventually lead to more leaks in your roof, stains on the ceiling and walls, and potential flooding.
The cost to repair a roof following such damages will be expensive, but holding off could lead to even more costly repairs down the road. It’s best to perform repairs as quickly as possible. The two types of repairs you might be faced with include:
- Asphalt: Hail damage will appear as a dark spot or bruise because the granules will be missing. Look for holes, cracks or absent shingles. Repair immediately.
- Other shingles: Wood, metal, tile and other shingles will be hit hard by hail as well. Cracked, missing or broken shingles will allow leaking, so you’ll need a roofer in immediately to fix the problem.
Winds can reach at least 300 miles per hour during a severe thunderstorm, which can rip siding off your home and exacerbate the pelting of your exterior with hail and debris as well. Wind damage repairs can cost thousands of dollars, depending on the extent of the injury. While you can’t prepare for flying debris from other houses, you can minimize damage by curtailing debris in your own yard. To prevent wind damage, you can:
- Trim back tree branches to prevent fallen limbs.
- Secure window shutters to defend against debris.
- Tie down anything that could fly away and hit the siding or the roof.
If your siding is looking worse for wear, have a siding professional come out to repair it. It could make the difference in whether you’re left with an intact home exterior after a storm or not.
Tornado damage occurs following high winds from blowing debris. While you can’t do a lot to prepare your home for a tornado, it helps to trim tree branches back from your roof and windows. You can also reinforce your roof to better handle high winds:
- Shake roof: Add more nails.
- Slate roof: Seal down with cement.
- Tile roof: Place a steel strap over the tiles.
- Asphalt roof: Nothing can be done, but inspect after.
You can also invest in a storm cellar, which is built underground and allows great defense against high winds during a tornado. A storm shelter is built close to the home so you have easy access during a tornado and don’t have to run far for safety. A storm cellar door is built at an angle so that debris blows over the door. This allows for debris to roll over the door rather than trap it, so you can get in and out easily. The confines of a storm cellar for a family is around 8 by 12 feet with an arched roof. It’s made of cement blocks and rebar to ensure maximum defenses.
Flooding can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damages to your home. To prepare your home for potential flooding, ensure that the ground is sloped away from your foundation. This will defend your home against water buildup. Also, regularly maintain any storm drains, gutters and downspouts. Other tips include:
- Cleaning gutters regularly
- Check and clean storm drains on a bimonthly basis
- Clean the storm drain cover
- Check window wells and sump pumps
- Construct barriers to stop flood water from getting into your home.
- Raise your heating system to a higher floor level to avoid flood water.
- Seal cracks in the basement walls.
Warnings, Alerts & Where to Go
You will see severe thunderstorm warnings and alerts appear throughout the span of the storm, whether it’s on the radio, TV or your smartphone. You can find warnings:
- In emergency notifications on smartphones
- On weather apps as alerts in real time
- On the radio from the National Weather Association
- On TV at the bottom as a grey moving bar with affected counties, times
When you see a severe thunderstorm warning in effect for your area, you need to stay indoors until at least 30 minutes after the last clap of thunder. Stay away from windows and doors, in case they happen to blow open or break in high wind conditions. Stay out of water in case of lightning. If you’re driving when you get the alert, head home if you’re close or get off the road immediately.
Storm Recovery and Damage Repair
After a severe thunderstorm hits your home, you could be looking at a few hundred dollars worth of simple repairs — broken windows, landscape upkeep and debris removal, for example — or you could be looking at thousands of dollars in repairs due to hail damage and flooding. Survey the extent of the damage and determine whether it will cause additional long-term issues; immediately fix anything that will. Here are some common post-storm damages and how to address them:
Broken tree branches, high winds, flying debris and hail can cause roof damage that will need to be addressed following a severe thunderstorm. Some signs of roof damage after a storm include:
- Split seams
- Missing, bruised or dented shingles
- Cracked or broken tiles
- Granules in the gutters
- Dents on the vents and gutters or roof flashing
It’s imperative that you have a roofing contractor fix your roof following a severe thunderstorm. Otherwise, these damages could lead to expensive interior problems like attic flooding, ceiling stains, and mold. In worst-case scenarios — those in which your roof is old and cannot handle the high winds or hail storms — your roof may cave in on itself. This is uncommon, but you do run the risk of having to replace your roof if it’s reaching the 15-20 year mark around the time of a severe thunderstorm.
Weather associated with severe thunderstorms can also significantly impact the exterior and siding of your home, causing:
- Cracks that run parallel to the siding
- Chips or breaks in siding
- Breaks or holes that are punched into the siding by hail and debris
- Dings and dents, most commonly found in aluminum siding
- Paint damage such as chips, cracks and color changes or small black marks
If your siding shows cracks, chips, or dings and dents, have it repaired immediately to prevent pests, insects or climate conditions from further impacting your home. Breaks and holes, in particular, negate the siding’s ability to defend your home entirely. Such damage will require siding to be replaced by a contractor — in parts or in whole — which could cost thousands of dollars. Paint damage is the least of concerns because it’s a cosmetic injury rather than a functional one.
Windows and Doors
Windows and doors bear the brunt of severe thunderstorms’ debris and high winds, making them highly susceptible to damages. Some damages you’ll see after a storm might include:
- Cracked or splitting doors and frames
- Broken glass or shattered windows
- Debris embedded in a door or window
- Paint chipped or cracking around a door or window
Contractors recommend taking the following steps to protect your windows and doors against severe thunderstorms.:
- Window film: This keeps window glass from shattering.
- Plywood boards: Install over windows before a storm.
- Storm shutters: Shutters defend against high winds and debris.
- High impact glass: Impact glass breaks into two pieces rather than shattering when hit by debris.
While you can trim your trees back before a storm, there’s still a chance that high winds, flying debris and hail will cause them to bend, twist and break during a severe thunderstorm. There are six different ways a tree can be damaged during a storm:
- Blow-over: A tree is pushed over by high winds.
- Stem failure: Stems break under high winds because of old wounds and pest damage.
- Crown twist: Tree crowns will twist and split under high winds because of poor maintenance, or because they’re lopsided.
- Root failure: Poor anchorage to the ground will cause the root to pull up or snap, and the tree will fall or lean over.
- Branch failure: Branches will break off from the tree because they’re poorly attached in the first place.
- Lightning: Lightning will hit the tree and cause small explosions down the line of the tree, causing it to break and fall.
There’s not much a homeowner can do to prep a tree for potential damage except provide good care and maintenance. Trim trees on a regular basis and try to keep branches away from your home and power lines.
If your home is flooded following a severe thunderstorm, there are various steps you can take to recover your home. It’s going to be a long process, involve a lot of tearing up, remodeling and time, but your home will go back to its original state eventually. Some recommendations from the CDC include:
- Wear safety gear.
- Get rid of anything that can’t be cleaned (bedding, fabric flooring, upholstery, toys, linens)
- Throw away drywall and insulation that’s wet.
- Deep clean and scrub hard surfaces with hot water and dish detergent.
- Use fans, A/C units and dehumidifiers to speed the drying process.
- Wash all clothing touched by flood water with hot water and laundry detergent.
Be aware of electrical power lines, natural gas lines, frayed wires and any other hazards from flooding that could injure you. You should check with the gas company or the fire department before returning to your home to avoid injury. Do not return to your home during the day to avoid any accidents from being unable to see. You shouldn’t be allowed to return until the police or fire department say it’s okay. You should also not wade in standing water or around downed power lines, just in case.
If you need help with the big part of the recovery job — pulling up carpet, taking down drywall, removing appliances, so forth — you can call in a disaster recovery contractor to help you. These professionals are licensed and experienced in handling situations like flood recovery and know where to start. They can also look out for disaster-specific issues like mold, foundation issues and the like.
Top States for Thunderstorms
Some states are more prone to severe thunderstorms than others, which means homeowners in such states need to be better prepared. According to a report on WeatherBug, in 2013 the top states for severe thunderstorms between March 1 and June 17 included:
- Texas: 922 events*
- Oklahoma: 725 events
- Kansas: 652 events
- Missouri: 515 events
- Illinois: 456 events
- Nebraska: 405 events
- Iowa: 403 events
- New York: 252 events
- Mississippi: 233 events
- Virginia: 232 events
- Louisiana: 223 events
*Note: events are defined as severe thunderstorms
The most active states — Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri — received 300 severe thunderstorm alerts per week.
Thunderstorm Safety Tips and Prevention
To keep your home and family safe before and during a thunderstorm, it’s imperative that you take precautionary measures — especially if you live in an area prone to storms.
To prepare for a thunderstorm, the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) recommends:
- Putting together an emergency kit and family plan
- Removing debris and branches
- Securing outdoor objects that could blow away or damage the home
- Staying inside your home
- Closing all exterior windows and doors
- Unplugging all electronic equipment before the storm.
While there isn’t much you can do to prevent a severe thunderstorm, you can keep the damages to a minimum by securing as much in your home as possible and reinforcing the defenses around your home exterior. Tie down your roofing or seal it with mortar, call in siding professionals and clean up all the debris around your house.
There are storm damage professionals who can come in following a natural disaster and help with the recovery. While they don’t fix everything, they can help you start the process. If you want to read more about what they do, read this FAQ from the National Storm Damage Center.
How to Keep Your Insurance Down
Standard homeowner policies cover your home and what’s in it. You should be covered for storm damages and major natural disasters, including severe thunderstorms; however, flooding is not generally covered. Storm-resistance improvements that will lower your premiums include:
- Impact-resistant shingles
- High impact glass
- Storm shutters
Always file a claim following a severe thunderstorm if your home is extensively damaged.
Cost Effective Water Remediation
Many steps can be taken to make the restoration and repair of a flood-damaged home more efficient and cost-effective.
Understanding the full measure of the flood restoration process for your home can ensure that the appropriate professionals get called to respond to these disasters when necessary. Flood restoration involves multiple repair and cleaning stages, both of which our extensive roster of qualified professionals can provide. Understanding what is involved in returning your home to a preloss condition after a flood can show homeowners how vital professional recovery actually is for residences and businesses alike.
When considering how extensive flood damage inhomes can become, containment and emergency services become vital efforts to begin immediately. Often, these preliminary tasks occur before mitigation or the job scoping phase. Planning is a considerable step and stage before restoration begins, but there are specific actions they cannot wait to be included in this overall restoration agenda. We have several efficient strategies beginning with your communication with our staffed SERVPRO emergency line.
When is the Information About the Disaster Gathered?
As you might expect, our professionals cannot know about damages to your specific residence without first notifying our administrators about the issue. The information you share with our staff emergency line representatives is shared directly with the appropriate parties responding to the disaster. At this stage, it is critical to be as thorough as possible so that we can collect the proper data and relevant facts to ensure that our technicians mobilize from our warehouse with the right equipment, personnel, and products. There are three ultimate ways that we collect the bulk of the data necessary to form our restoration plan for the property:
- Emergency Phone Call – As already discussed, the more that you can share with operators on our emergency line, the better prepared our technicians are for what to expect when we reach the property.
- Job Scoping – We have highly trained project managers who walk through the property damaged by a flood to determine what actions must be taken to restore the home. We can also use this phase to document total losses of structures and contents or indicate where further measures might be required in these areas.
- Conversations with the Customer – No one knows your property as well as you do, so we often lean on the information provided by our customers to prioritize what actions get taken first.
What is a Staging Area?
One of the efficient recovery approaches that our SERVPRO technicians utilize is staging areas. These get constructed in unaffected areas of the home nearby to where the bulk of the work and cleaning must occur. The objective of establishing a clean room to store equipment and personal protective gear is to have these items accessible as they are needed. We can limit trips in and out of the house by bringing in all of the necessary equipment, products, and devices into this staging area. The primary advantages of establishing this clean room between your home and its damaged areas are:
- Prevents Cross-Contamination
- Near to Drying/Work Zones
What Are Efficient Strategies for Extraction?
Flood losses can be traumatic events in your house, specifically when standing water becomes a pressing concern. In any capacity, pooling can lead to saturation and absorption into the exposed materials of contents nearby. Extraction becomes a critical effort for our responding technicians because this removes the standing water threat to allow for more focus drying, cleaning, and other recovery actions. There are several extractors common to removing natural flood water from a property, whether inside the house, in the crawl space area, or even more inaccessible locations. These approaches include:
- Trash Pumps – Gas-powered trash pumps can often be an ideal choice for removing natural flood water because of these units’ ability to remove smaller solids and debris.
- Wet Vacuums – Extractors like wet vacuums are a more versatile choice, as these can run several different attachments such as carpet wands, squeegee wands, or work independently to remove water below two inches in depth.
- Subcontractor – Threat of contamination can be a motivator to choose a subcontractor where blackwater incidents might be overwhelming for the equipment available to our SERVPRO team.
Many initial tasks must occur between the potential for contamination and leftover bulk materials immediately following the disaster. Our team has motivated and helpful water restoration technicians and cleaning specialists to help address drying and restoring the property “Like it never even happened.”