Recent Storm Damage Posts

What Is a Flood Zone, and Are You in One?

9/19/2021 (Permalink)

Flooded street. It is important for all homeowners to understand what flood zone they're in to better understand the flooding risk.

Everyone has heard of Tornado Alley, and they know this alley is the region of the United States in which tornadoes are most likely to occur. However, many people are unfamiliar with a nearby flood zone and often wonder in which regions of the U.S. these zones are. It is important that you understand what these zones are and why the government has made special designations for them.

What Is a Flood Zone?

A flood zone is a region of the U.S. that FEMA has defined according to their levels of flood risk. Though there are several alphanumeric designations the organization uses, there are four main categories in which a region can fall:

• Moderate to low-risk areas
• High-risk areas
• High-risk coastal areas
• Undetermined areas

In high-risk areas, homeowners are required to hold a flood insurance policy. However, FEMA provides grants to homeowners who were hit by a bad storm to either supplement what money the insurance company provided or to make up for the lack of coverage.

How Can You Tell What Flood Zone You're In?

FEMA offers a flood map, which provides useful depictions of flood hazards per region. You can download the map for free or pick one up from a Lakeland, FL, flood insurance company. Be aware that flood zones are always changing, and that last year's map may be out of date. It is important for your safety that you retain a copy of the most recent flood map available.

Do You Need Flood Coverage?

If you are in a high-risk zone, then yes, you are likely required to carry flood insurance. However, even if you're in a moderate to low-risk area, your lender may require you to carry a rider policy. If you do need insurance, visit FloodSmart.gov for the most affordable rates and best policies.

It is important for all homeowners to understand what flood zone they're in to better understand the flooding risk. If you're unable to get the information you need from a flood map, contact your local flood restoration team for assistance.

Setting Those Stormy Expectations

8/9/2021 (Permalink)

Extraction of water in a wet bedroom. If you need water restoration in Lakeland, call SERVPRO.

Basic Steps To Restore Your Home: extract, tear out, dry, restore.

If your home suffered damage as a result of a storm in Lakeland, FL, complete and accurate restoration is your overall end goal. Storm restoration can only be achieved after you assess water damage, tear out appropriate items and reconstruct as necessary. It is critical to manage your expectations of damages. Understanding the process involved can minimize your storm stresses.

1. Extraction of Water

Begin water extraction by making sure it is safe to be inside your property. Opening doors and windows allows pooled water to drain. Mop saturated areas and blot floors and walls with towels and other dry materials. Move wet furniture and articles into the driest spaces available and turn the air on in your house (blasting the air conditioning in summer or heat during winter).

2. Tear Out of Wet Materials

Removing wet materials from your home in a timely manner is crucial. Mold quickly begins to form on items that are not dried, removed or torn from their location. Extremely damaged carpets or drywall should be removed, though take care not to tear any loadbearing structures from your home without seeking a professional opinion.

3. Drying of Structures

Dry and dehumidify structures as soon as possible. Ceiling fans and box fans can be utilized to dry open areas of the home. Certain areas of your property are harder to access; however, restoration service professionals should have advanced methods, including industrial fans and treatments, to reach these areas and shorten the drying process.

4. Restoration

The last and final step of restoration varies in scope. Occasionally only some drywall and furniture will need to be replaced, while other instances may require expansive rebuilding and landscaping.

Dealing with a storm and its aftermath can be a tricky, cumbersome experience logistically and emotionally. It is important for homeowners in Lakeland, FL, to know what to expect as they deal with the cleanup process. Remember before, during and after the storm that you have four basic steps to complete in order to restore your home to its previous glory: extract, tear out, dry, restore.

Flood Fence Barriers — a Reasonable Alternative to the Traditional Sandbag

6/11/2021 (Permalink)

Red and white plastic barriers blocking the road Flood fence barriers are one potential alternative.

Flood Fence Barriers

If you have ever been involved in a hurricane or other severe weather incident where there was the possibility of flooding, then you may have seen sandbags being put out. Usually composed of polypropylene plastic, these are bags stuffed with sand. When stacked properly to create flood dams, they act as an effective tool for preventing and reducing flood damage that might require the services of a professional restoration and cleanup service in Griffin, FL, to handle.
They divert the flow of water, keeping it from rushing through buildings and ruining their contents. The absorption of the incoming liquid does two things: It causes the sand particles to cling together more and causes the bags to become heavier, making them more difficult to shift. A sandbag is easy to use and works fairly well as a protective barrier. However, it has its downsides as well. Sandbags are vulnerable to degradation from exposure to the elements, labor-intensive to fill and arrange and easily contaminated by pollutants like chemicals, making them a pain to deal with afterward. Flood fence barriers are one potential alternative.

What Are They?
They are a type of moveable fence you set up around the perimeter of a structure. There are different brands available. Unlike a sandbag, these do not have to be filled with sand or other materials.

What Are the Pros of Using Them?
Flood fence barriers have some benefits, including:

  • They are not overly cumbersome to carry around
  • They can be placed at any location you need to
  • They can shield large properties

What Are the Cons of Using Them?
They are meant to be set up in advance and are not much good when it comes to halting ongoing flooding. As a result, they are considerably less effective if put up after a storm has begun.
A sandbag is an old and effective tool for flood damage mitigation. However, there are other options available like flood fence barriers.

How Can I Protect My Building From Hail?

4/12/2021 (Permalink)

Blue tarp on roof, man on roof Tarped roof in South Lakeland, FL

Ways To Prevent Hail Damage To Your Roof

While flooding and wind damage might be the first things you think of after a storm in South Lakeland, FL, hail damage can happen, and it can be severe. As you think of ways to protect your property from storm damage, consider taking steps to prevent roof damage from hail.

Inspect Your Roof
Maintaining and regularly inspecting your roof will keep it in good shape, helping prevent damage during a storm. Check the following areas:

  • Decking
  • Gutters
  • Drainage pipes
  • Flashing
  • Vents
  • Surface membranes

Roof damage can lead to water in your attic, wet insulation and other secondary damage that may require the help of a commercial restoration company.

Protect HVAC Systems
HVAC equipment is sometimes mounted on the roof of a commercial property. If yours is roof-mounted, check to see if it is designed to withstand hail impact. If not, you can install wire mesh, hail guards or other protection to shield your equipment. Hail guards are designed to protect from hail impact and may also be resistant to rot and UV rays as well as corrosion and abrasion. If you use hail guards, they should also be designed to withstand uplift pressures.

Use Impact-Resistant Skylights and Solar Panels
If you use solar panels, be sure they are designed to the standards of the International Electrotechnical Commission or IEC. The IEC code requires solar panels to meet a certain impact test rating to their standards.
Similarly, if you have skylights, they should also meet impact standards and building codes in your area. If you know ahead of time that there is a chance of hail, you can cover your skylights with plywood, a storm shutter or a metal cap to prevent hail damage. Regular inspections will help keep your skylight in good shape.
Maintenance and planning before a hail storm in South Lakeland, FL, can go a long way in preventing roof damage to your commercial property.

Is Your Home Flooded From a Storm? Avoid These 5 Cleanup Errors

1/18/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO tech removing the water from the floor in a Lakeland, FL home If your home has been impacted by a storm contact a restoration company as soon as possible

Is Your Home Flooded From a Storm? Avoid These 5 Cleanup Errors

When flood water rises within a home, the dampness absorbs like a sponge into anything penetrable. This complicates cleanup matters because homeowners cannot see the full extent of bacterial contamination; rather, the complexity of the infestation hides beneath the surface, ready to multiply if not treated appropriately. Owners should use care and avoid making the following five mistakes when repairing their place.


1. Reliance on Household Cleaners

Traditional household cleaning products kill bacteria and fungus from the surface; they cannot, however, guarantee that they eradicate anything within; therefore, don't try to sanitize your flooded home only with general cleaners such as bleach; this solution won't get the job done.

2. Unprotected Entrance

Going into the house should be done with extreme caution as the flood water is fraught with unknown organisms. Have protective gear available when you inspect the property. Wear knee-high rubber boots, gloves and eye wear.


3. Keeping Drywall and Carpet

The water damage shouldn't just be dried, overly saturated materials must be torn out to prevent mold and mildew growth. Seek the advice of a water restoration company in Lakeland, FL. The experts inspect the premises, recommending the appropriate level of flood cuts within the walls. In addition, they complete moisture readings on the flooring, determining how much of it should be torn out.


4. Immediate Replacement of Objects

Remediation demands methodical attention and time. Focus on purifying the home rather than replacing valuables immediately. It's tempting to go out and purchase a new sofa and chair; however, putting it into a contaminated room could expose the new furniture to microbes and mold growth. Remain out of the area until it's completely restored. Then, fill it with new things.


5. Using Electronics

Before using fans and electrical switches, have an electrician look over the place. It's possible that something has been harmed in the walls. Furthermore, do not run vacuums or other devices in the wet zones, avoiding unnecessary fire and electrical threats.
If your residence has been impacted with flood water, seek the assistance of professionals as soon as possible. Avoid exposure and be cautious when entering.

3 Possible Non-Flooding Storm Damage Causes

11/11/2020 (Permalink)

Palm Tree Blowing In The Wind in Lakeland, FL High-speed winds can also turn into tornadoes, which can cause even worse harm.

Here Are Three Other Kinds Of Storm Damage

When you think of storm damage, one of the first things that comes to mind is probably flooding and water damage from rain. Flooding from rain can lead to weakened structures, mold and mildew development and irreparable harm to inventory and other contents. Standing water can get under floors and is dangerous as well as devastating. A severe storm often leads to the need for a cleanup and restoration service in Lakeland, FL, and some items may be beyond repair. However, there are other causes of storm damage besides rain. For example, a frozen pipe that ends up becoming a burst pipe in a winter storm is capable of causing just as much water damage as a rain flood. It is important to recognize that storm damage encompasses more than flooding. 

1. Freezing Damage

A sudden temperature drop in the midst of an icy snow storm can constitute a threat to a building's pipe system. As mentioned before, a pipe that freezes can and often does end up as a burst pipe, creating a huge mess to clean up. Any pipe or water containing component is vulnerable to the effects of freezing temperatures, including:

  • Hose supply lines
  • Outdoor water spigots
  • Water sprinkler lines
  • Outdoor pipes
  • Uninsulated pipes
  • Unheated indoor area pipes

2. Wind Damage

Wind can also cause substantial damage. It can blow shingles off of roofs or even tear off whole roofs. It can also cause nearby trees to fall on buildings or drop debris on them. High-speed winds can also turn into tornadoes, which can cause even worse harm.

3. Hail Damage

There is also hail damage. The impact of hail can shatter building and car windows and smash holes in roofs. It can also dent or crack other parts of buildings.

With storms, flooding from torrential downpours is often a main concern. However, other types of damage like wind damage, hail damage and water damage from a burst pipe in freezing conditions are also possibilities.

How to Prepare Your Home for a Storm

10/20/2020 (Permalink)

Man cleaning and maintaining plastic guttering on a house Clear Gutters and Drainage Around Your Home

Follow These Steps Before Your A Storm Hits

If your Polk County, FL, home is in the path of a coming storm, you probably want to know whether you are appropriately prepared. Flood water from storms can cause serious damage to surfaces and create conditions for secondary damage to occur. You should make sure that a few things are done before a storm hits your home:

1. Move Electronics and Valuables Above Ground Level
Your most valuable possessions are often your most vulnerable ones. Electronics can be damaged by electric surges, so you should always unplug them. Pictures, appliances, files, and power cords should all be elevated above ground level. Moving your things to a safe place will not only protect them from flood water but will also reinforce good habits regarding your valuable belongings in the future.

2. Clear Gutters and Drainage Around Your Home
During a storm, it is vital that water be efficiently directed away from your property. As heavy precipitation accumulates in gutters or drainage ditches, any buildup of litter or other matter can allow water to infiltrate your home, resulting in water damage and flooding. Make sure that all of your drainage infrastructure is clear. If you are anticipating an especially severe weather incident, consider digging new drainage areas or expanding existing ones.

3. Check That Your Home's Sump Pump Is Working
A working sump pump should be a last line of defense in preventing a flooded building. Do not wait until the last minute to make sure that yours is working. You should regularly test your pump by adding water to it manually, then checking if the water has been successfully pumped away from your home.
Owning a property means that you are responsible for the long-term viability of your home. If your space has already suffered damage from flood water, you should restore it as soon as possible to avoid more costly repairs in the future. A water restoration expert will know how to quickly and efficiently bring your home back to working order.

How to Keep Your Employees Safe Amid Snow Storms

9/10/2020 (Permalink)

Snowstorm, snow-covered street and cars with a lonely pedestrian Keep your employees protected during a snow storm

How to Keep Your Employees Safe Amid Snow Storms

During a snowstorm, office managers have the responsibility of making sure workers remain safe. Luckily, there are many precautions those in charge can take to assure their staff stays healthy and secure when bad weather hits.

Preparing for Snow
Before the winter season arrives in Dixieland, FL, do the following:

  • Check your building’s caulking and weather strips. After a few years, each of them should be redone.
  • Research ways to keep plumbing from freezing and cracking. The effects of a pipe burst can be highly distressing.
  • Acquire sand or dirt for covering icy sidewalks and parking lots. Slips can result in injuries and costly lawsuits.
  • Sign up for snowstorm alerts. This way, you will be able to take action at the earliest possible moment.
  • Establish a protocol for cancellation notifications. Having a phone tree or email list in place prevents jobholders from making treacherous and unneeded trips.

Taking a few simple measures before a blizzard hits significantly reduces the odds of endangerment, so do what you can before disruption arrives.

Dealing With Snow
When excessive snowfall comes your way, stay home unless absolutely necessary. In the event you must journey to your office, dress warm and be certain your vehicle comes equipped with jumper cables. Should you break down and become exposed to the elements, frostbite or hypothermia can take hold quickly. Know how to recognize and deal with these life-threatening conditions. Have an emergency kit with blanket, non-perishable food, and medical supplies handy for these and other perilous scenarios.
Besides being dangerous, violent weather causes all sorts of building damage. From roof collapses to fallen branches smashing through windows, the fallout often requires immediate attention. Should your workspace become compromised, select a qualified disaster recovery team that can get everything back to looking “Like it never even happened.”
Keep your employees protected during a snow storm, both before and during such a mammoth event. Once the worst has passed, check your facility for damage and commence repairs ahead of the next wintry downpour.

Why You May See Mold After Flooding

8/10/2020 (Permalink)

Mold growth found on drywall Mold growth after storm damage in Griffin, FL

Mold Growth After Storm Flooding

After a storm leads to flood water in your Griffin, FL, home, there’s a chance you may see mold growth as well. There are a few reasons for this. Here’s what you may want to know.

1. Mold Is a Fungus

One of the first things to understand is that mold is a fungus. This means that it grows by consuming organic material and water and then creating spores. This prime location for this fungi growth is in the area of high moisture and dim light.

2. Flood Water Can Create a Mold Habitat

The availability of standing water after a storm flood has occurred can create a prime habitat for mold growth. This is because flood water can get into small dim areas, such as under the baseboards, where the flood water creates plenty of moisture and the drywall and wood material provide an energy source. Fortunately, a restoration professional should know that such areas are at risk for this problem and include them in their damage assessment.

3. Flooding Can Get into Unseen Areas

It’s important to understand that water can seep into little used spaces of your home as well. This is why it’s a good idea to call a storm damage restoration professional to help any time this type of problem occurs. These professionals can handle water removal as well as any secondary damages that may occur such as mold, or sanitizing to prevent bacteria growth. They will also know what unseen areas in your home should be checked for these damages based on where the flooding occurred. This may include basement or crawlspace areas, under flooring, and between some walls.

Because mold is a fungus there’s a chance you could see mold growth after issues with standing water, like storm flooding, occur. This water can seep into unseen spaces and create a desirable habitat for the spores to grow. Fortunately, a professional can help.