Recent Storm Damage Posts

Storm Damage - What if a tree falls on my house?

9/15/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO Truck Driving on road SERVPRO NW Charlotte - Storm Damage Restoration

It’s storm season which increases the probability of high winds and rain that lead to the risk of storm damage to your property from toppled trees, but what if a tree falls on your house? First, remember that SERVPRO of NW Charlotte is faster to any size disaster and will help you from step one of the restoration process. Bookmark this checklist as your go-to resource for clean up and restoration.

What if a tree falls on my house?

  • Evacuate the property immediately.

  • Call 911 to report the incident.

  • Instead of worrying about calling individual services like electricians, tree removal and plumbers, simply make one call to SERVPRO of NW Charlotte and we will find the right service providers including a system that each technician has been fully trained to follow. 

  • Do not re-enter the property without being advised and do not worry about your belongings. We will make sure that your home is secured until repairs are complete. If items need to be removed, we can facilitate that process and make sure the belongings are returned to their original place.  

Storm Damage Restoration

Many homeowners like to be fully informed about the restoration process. We want you to have peace of mind and feel good about trusting SERVPRO of NW with your cleanup and restoration.

Here is a beginning sample of what you can expect:

Outside:

  • Ensure the tree and tree debris is removed from the property.
  • Secure the roof with a covering so that there is no further damage inside.
  • ...and more.

Inside:

  • Make sure any tree debris indoors has been removed. 
  • Assess damage and ensure demolition of damaged areas including ceilings and walls.
  • Spray exposed surfaces with an antimicrobial agent.  
  • ...and more.

Our #1 priority is to make storma damage as stress free as possible. So, if a tree falls on your house during a storm, call SERVPRO of NW Charlotte and we’ll take it from there. 

September is National Preparedness Month

9/15/2021 (Permalink)

SERVPRO NW Charlotte - Vehicles SERVPRO is prepared to help you during your disaster and your recovery.

Each September, National Preparedness Month encourages and reminds Americans to be prepared for disasters or emergencies in their homes, businesses, and communities.

Homeowners, families, communities, and businesses can use this opportunity to find ways or help others understand more about preparing for disasters and reducing risks to health and the environment.


SERVPRO of NW Charlotte, Lincoln County, Southern and NE Gaston County is prepared to help you 24/7 with storm damage repair and restoration.

Tips to Minimize Damage during Storm Season

7/29/2021 (Permalink)

Storms over neighborhood in Charlotte NC Prepare & Prevent Storm Damage

Storm season is upon us which can make property owners feel unsettled and vulnerable. As someone once said, “Confidence comes from being prepared.” Perhaps you, too, lack the confidence of being prepared? As neighbors in your community, we want to help instill confidence that you’ve done everything possible to protect your home before the storm hits. As emergency responders for over two decades, we want to keep you informed by sharing our firsthand insight. Believe us- we’ve seen storm damage of all shapes and sizes. Either way, our #1 goal is for you to be able to enjoy your home as if it never happened! 

So, how can you prepare? To ease any storm’s impact, we’ve compiled our go-to storm preparation recommendations just for you. Follow these tips to help reduce potential storm damage on your property and surrounding areas. You can thank us later. ;)

Storm Preparation 101:

  1. Look up. What trees and limbs are hanging over your property? Be sure dead or loose limbs are clear and trees trimmed. Also, look for trees with visibly shallow root systems and make sure nothing is within falling distance should the roots become saturated and the tree uproots.
  2. Look out. What is on your patio or lawn that could be blown by high winds? Make sure that any fences are secured, furniture anchored, and loose items are stored properly.

  3. Look around. Is the perimeter of your house secure? Are gutters draining properly? If not, be sure to clean out the debris to ensure proper drainage. Are windows and doors protected? If they appear vulnerable, consider covering them with plywood or installing storm shutters and even heavy-duty hardware.

  4. Look inside. Are the floors clear of belongings? Make sure books, electronic devices, photographs, and more are stored off the ground and not lying on the floor to incur potential water damage. Be sure to have a collection of drying materials (towels, rags, etc.) should you need to dry water quickly until help arrives. Also, make sure to have a proper stash of emergency items according to the CDC recommendations: https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/hurricanes/index.html

  5. Look at your phone. Who do you have stored in your contacts to call should any damage occur? Important numbers to have stored include friends and family, fire and police departments, health care providers and hospitals, local emergency management offices, utility companies, American Red Cross, and emergency restoration and clean-up service of choice (three cheers for SERVPRO!). The #1 thing to remember is that fast response will lessen the damage, reduce further damage and minimize costs. 

Should any damages occur beyond your control, don’t forget that we’re your neighbors and already in the area. Our team can respond 24/7 to your storm damage restoration needs, call us - the locally owned and operated, certified professionals: SERVPRO of NW Charlotte, Lincoln County, Southern and NE Gaston County.

We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and dedicated to responding immediately. The quicker you call us, the quicker your home can return to normal.

EMERGENCY DISINFECTION OF DRINKING WATER AFTER DISASTER

10/18/2019 (Permalink)

USE ONLY WATER THAT HAS BEEN PROPERLY DISINFECTED FOR DRINKING, COOKING, MAKING ANY PREPARED DRINK, OR FOR BRUSHING TEETH

1. Use bottled water that has not been exposed to flood waters if it is available.

2. If you don’t have bottled water, you should boil water to make it safe. Boiling water will kill most types of disease-causing organisms that may be present. If the water is cloudy, filter it through clean cloths or allow it to settle, and draw off the clear water for boiling. Boil the water for one minute, let it cool, and store it in clean containers with covers.

3. If you can’t boil water, you can disinfect it using household bleach. Bleach will kill some, but not all, types of disease-causing organisms that may be in the water. If the water is cloudy, filter it through clean cloths or allow it to settle, and draw off the clear water for disinfection. Add 1/8 teaspoon (or 8 drops) of regular, unscented, liquid household bleach for each gallon of water, stir it well and let it stand for 30 minutes before you use it. Store disinfected water in clean containers with covers.

4. If you have a well that has been flooded, the water should be tested and disinfected after flood waters recede. If you suspect that your well may be contaminated, contact your local or state health department or agriculture extension agent for specific advice.

Home Flood Preparation

9/26/2019 (Permalink)

Flooded Street in Huntersville NC Flood Preparation

How Can I Prepare My Home for a Flood?

If you live in a flood-prone region, it's crucial to formulate a plan now to protect your family and pets in case bad weather strikes. After your emergency plan is established, you can then learn how to protect your home. These six tips help you prepare your home for a flood in order to limit structural and financial damage in the future.

Elevate Electrical Components

Electrical sockets, switches and wiring should be elevated at least 12 inches above predicted flood levels. This reduces the amount of damage a flood can cause to your home, and it prevents your home from becoming a safety hazard during the recovery period.

If you have a fuel tank in your basement, be sure to anchor it. An unanchored fuel tank can cause serious damage, such as tearing the supply line and spilling oil.

Waterproof Your Basement

Waterproofing your basement typically requires a large sum of money, but this investment pays off if you live in an area that is frequently flooded. Along with waterproofing, set up a sump pump in the basement and a battery-operated backup in case the power goes out during the flood.

Pay Attention to Flood Alerts

You can elevate electrical components and waterproof your basement long before a flood strikes, but some preparation has to be done in the days or hours leading up to a flash flood. Pay attention to the weather, and take flood alerts seriously.

A Flood Watch will be issued when the conditions are right for flooding. This is a good time to protect furniture and important documents. Remember to take action the moment the watch is issued, though, as you'll want to start evacuating before a Flood Warning occurs.

A Flood Warning means that a flood is happening now or going to take place soon.

Move Furniture and Other Valuables to a Safe Place

Once a Flood Watch occurs, move furniture, valuables, and important documents to a safe place. Copies of critical documents like birth certificates or insurance policies should be stored in a waterproof safety box.

Keep in mind that this step should only be taken if you have time to safely evacuate your family. If the flood is likely to occur soon, forget your furniture and head to higher ground.

Pack an Emergency Kit

Store an emergency kit — one you can use after evacuating or when trapped in the house — in your home at all times. This kit should include at least three days' worth of water and food (including 1 gallon [or 4 liters] per person per day), along with essentials like:

  • Flashlights
  • Medications
  • Copies of personal documents
  • Cellphone with chargers

Purchase Flood Insurance

Regular homeowner's insurance does not cover flood damage costs. If your home is located in a flood-prone area, it's a good idea to also purchase flood insurance, which is available to homeowners through the National Flood Insurance Program.

Drills & Exercises

9/10/2019 (Permalink)

Put together a list of the most likely threats you will face based on:

  • Historical data on past disasters that have affected your region.
  • Local crimes stats and dangers that are specific to your geographical location.
  • Anything that is unique to your situation, such as economic problems, medical issues, local dangers, and people in your group who require extra attention.

Based on the identified threats, you need to put together the following plans.

  • A Home Evacuation Plan: This is a basic plan that lists the steps you will take during an emergency that would make your home unsafe; this includes planning for things like a fire, an earthquake or home invasions.
  • A bug out plan: Your bug out plan takes your evacuation plan to the next level. It takes into consideration disasters that would cause you to have to leave not only your home but your neighborhood, city, and possibly even state.
  • A get home plan: If you work away from home, travel, or even drive to the local grocery store you should have some sort of plan that accounts for disasters that happen while away from home.
  • A communication plan: During a disaster, it’s very likely that most communication channels will go down. You need to develop an Emergency Communications Plan, so you can immediately get ahold of those you love.

Safety Drills: Conducting routine safety drills.

Once you have your plans in place, you need to figure out if those plans actually work. One of the best ways to prepare yourself and your family for disasters and threats, as well as discover any holes in your plans, is to conduct periodic emergency safety drills.

These drills should be based on the threats you identified in your planning. While everyone’s drills will be a little different, here are some ideas to get you started.

Home Fire Drills

When it comes to likely threats, fires should be on top of everyone’s list. Every year there are over 1 million fires in the United States, killing over 3,000 people and injuring tens of thousands more.

If you have children who attend public school, they are probably already pretty familiar with fire drills; so having one at home might be a good place to start.

The first time you conduct the drill, everyone in your home should be aware of the exercise. The first one should not be a surprise; you want to go through every step of the process in a slow and deliberate manner.

Once you’ve gone through the drill, and you’re sure everyone knows what they are supposed to do, you should then schedule a surprise drill early in the morning before everyone wakes up. The shock will help simulate a real emergency, and can give you a good idea how they will respond during a real fire.

Things you should include in your drill.

  • To start the drill, press the test button on your fire alarm and scream “FIRE DRILL, FIRE DRILL.” The noise from the alarm will help simulate the real deal.
  • Based on your evacuation plan, everyone in the home should follow their emergency routes out to your predetermined meeting point (usually somewhere right outside your home).
  • Practice Touching the door to see if it’s hot, and make sure everyone has an alternative route out in case the door is blocked by fire. 
  • Practice what to do in case there is smoke. Grab something to cover your mouth, Get Low and Go.
  • Throw a monkey wrench into the plan, and practice alternative routes out of the home.

Natural Disaster Drills: Safety Drills for Earthquakes, Tornadoes, and Hurricanes.

While your exact plans will vary, based on the actual disaster, these types of drills are not much different than the fire drill. The primary purpose of all of these drills is to go through the steps that you identified in your emergency planning phase, and test those plans in a mock scenario.

Things you should include in your disaster drill.

  • Make sure the drill is realistic. Try to simulate things that would happen during the disaster. Shut off the power, turn off cell phones, and conduct yourself as if you are actually in the middle of the disaster.
  • Practice your evacuation routes. Make sure everyone is familiar with the evacuation plan, and can safely make it to any meetup points that you identified in your planning.
  • Practice your communication plan. Go through your list, and make sure you can contact people without using your cell phone.
  • Practice what you would do if disaster hit while away from home.
  • Make sure you go through the steps you would actually take during the disaster. That means doing thing like grabbing your bugout bag and going through all of the steps you plan on taking during a real disaster.

Make a Plan

9/9/2019 (Permalink)

Make a plan today. Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to know which types of disasters could affect your area.  Know how you’ll contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find.

Step 1: Put together a plan by discussing these 4 questions with your family, friends, or household to start your emergency plan.

  1. How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?

  2. What is my shelter plan?

  3. What is my evacuation route?

  4. What is my family/household communication plan?

Step 2:  Consider specific needs in your household.

As you prepare your plan tailor your plans and supplies to your specific daily living needs and responsibilities. Discuss your needs and responsibilities and how people in the network can assist each other with communication, care of children, business, pets, or specific needs like the operation of durable medical equipment. Create your own personal network for specific areas where you need assistance.  Keep in mind some these factors when developing your plan:

  • Different ages of members within your household

  • Responsibilities for assisting others

  • Locations frequented

  • Dietary needs

  • Medical needs including prescriptions and equipment

  • Disabilities or access and functional needs including devices and equipment

  • Languages spoken

  • Cultural and religious considerations

  • Pets or service animals

  • Households with school-aged children

Step 3: Fill out a Family Emergency Plan

Download and fill out a family emergency plan or use them as a guide to create your own.

Step 4: Practice your plan with your family/household

Natural Disaster Insurance

9/3/2019 (Permalink)

6 Types of Insurance For Natural Disasters

1. Home Insurance

The average homeowner’s insurance policy covers ordinary damage. From a busted pipe in your basement to an accidental house fire, hailstorm damage to your roof to lightning strike incidents, you should be covered by your home insurance. Keep in mind that each policy is different, and it’s important to know exactly what coverage you have with your insurance company (ideally before you have to file a claim).

2. Disaster Insurance

After you’ve checked with your insurance company and made yourself aware of the details of your homeowner’s policy, it’s time to shop around for disaster insurance. There are many unforeseen natural disasters that are not covered by typical home insurance that you need to be prepared for. Remember to call your insurance agent if you have any questions.

3. Flood Insurance

According to FEMA, floods are the most frequently occurring natural disaster in the country. Get a flood insurance policy to protect your home from damages caused by rising water, especially if you live on the coast or low-lying areas where flooding occurs more frequently. There is usually a waiting period of around a month before flood insurance coverage begins, so it’s best to sign up as soon as possible.

4. Earthquake Insurance

The last thing you want to do after an unexpected earthquake is pay to rebuild your home and restore your property. Earthquake insurance fills in the coverage gap left behind by your homeowner’s insurance policy even if you don’t live in an area prone to earthquakes. It’s smart and proactive to get an earthquake insurance quote, especially because of the unpredictable nature of this natural disaster.

5. Region-Specific Insurance

It’s important to be aware of which specific disasters could potentially affect the area you live in.

Depending on the region — and especially in high-risk areas — many states have subsidized insurance pools that provide appropriate coverage to residents. When you have questions, visit the FEMA Website for information on common natural disasters, history in certain areas, and urgent alerts.

6. Additional Coverage

There are supplemental policies and endorsements that you can purchase in addition to your regular coverage, which can be a good move if you have things like an above-ground pool, outdoor spa, or anything else home-adjacent that could be affected by a natural disaster. Some events can be covered by an extra clause in your general policy as well, but it’s best to talk to your insurance agent to see what additional coverage can be added to your existing plan.

How to Prepare Your Home for an Emergency

8/13/2019 (Permalink)

When disaster strikes, the last thing you want to think about is where the spare batteries are or whether your perishables have passed their expiration date. Make sure you're ready for any situation — and how to handle the aftermath — with these top tips.

1. Pack a "Go Bag"

If you have to leave your home in a hurry, you'll want to have some essentials packed and ready to go. Keep the following supplies, recommended by FEMA, in a portable container in the area of your house where you'll take shelter:

  • Three days' worth of food and water (at least a gallon per family member)
  • Battery powered (or hand crank) flashlights and radio
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Trash bags and duct tape, along with a dust mask
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Regional maps
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter, or solar charger
  • Moist towelettes and any personal sanitation or specific family needs, like pet supplies

(For additional recommendations, be sure to check out ready.gov)

We also suggest having smaller versions of your kit stocked with a few necessities like walking shoes, snacks, and a flashlight at work. In general, you'll also need enough cash on hand for five days of basic needs (gas and food), but any amount of ready money will help if ATMs are down.

Once you have your supplies together, it pays to go through them at least once a year too, to weed out expired food and batteries.

2. Make an Action Plan

When things get chaotic, you want to make sure that every family member knows what to do. We suggest designating two meeting places (one close by and one a little further away in your neighborhood) and hang a map with the spots marked near your emergency kit.

It also pays to have important contacts written down if the power goes out and there's nowhere to charge your cell phone. Make a mini contact list — ready.gov has templates you can print out — with important numbers that everyone can stow in their wallets. Leave a copy in your emergency kit, too. Establish a plan for checking in with relatives in case local lines get jammed. Text messages will often go through, even when phone lines are clogged.

3. Prep Your Home

If the power goes out and you have time, unplug appliances and electronics and turn off air conditioners, whether you stay or go. This will prevent damage when the electricity surges back on. Leave one lamp on so you'll know when the power's back.

How you store food can also make a difference when it comes to salvaging items afterwards, according to the FSIS. If there's a chance of flooding, be sure to store dry goods in waterproof containers high enough that they will be safely out of the way of contaminated water.

Grouping food together in the freezer can help it stay colder longer in the case of a power outage. If you have advanced warning, freeze any items you don't need right away, like leftovers, milk, and fresh meat and poultry to keep them at a safe temperature longer and stock your freezer with as much ice as you can fit. Coolers stocked with ice can also be helpful if the power is out for more than four hours.

Though you'll want to minimize the amount you open and close your refrigerator door once the power goes out, FSIS recommends keeping an appliance thermometer in your fridge and freezer to help you determine if food is safe to eat. The refrigerator temperature should be lower than 40 degrees Fahrenheit and the freezer temperature should be below zero degrees Fahrenheit.

After the Emergency

Coming home after a major disaster can be daunting. Call SERVPRO of Northwest Charlotte to help you in the event your home is affected.

Tree Maintenance and Storm Damage

5/9/2019 (Permalink)

Trees on Property Tree Maintenance and Storm Damage

Regular tree maintenance can help prevent storm damage to your home that is commonly caused by high winds and poor health of the trees on your property. 

Preventative Tips

Throughout the year there are steps you can take to prevent (or at least reduce the amount of) damage to your roof, home, deck/patio and yard when the weather brings heavy rain and wind. Homeowners can take care of most tree maintenance, but when dealing with tree removal, dead or diseased trees or insects/pests, it's best to call in the professionals for help. Depending on your situation, you may need to contact a certified arborist who can thoroughly assess the condition of the trees on your property, or a tree removal service that can perform a thorough assessment of any storm damage and cut down and remove any trees that are a potential hazard.

TRIMMING AND PRUNING

Any branches close to your house should be trimmed back on a regular basis. This will help protect against potential roof damage from fallen limbs if severe weather hits your area. Heavy rain, hail and powerful winds can easily snap and break weak branches off, which could result in major storm cleanup efforts if they fall. Pruning to remove dead limbs can be done any time of year, but is typically recommended during the winter and spring months.

TREE REMOVAL

Tree removal is a necessary part of tree maintenance, especially if there is a tree posing a risk to your home that could fall during a storm and cause damage. If you suspect you have a dead tree, you should hire a tree removal service for an assessment and they will recommend next steps. If you have a diseased tree, it may be beyond trying to save. A certified arborist can assess the tree and recommend whether or not it can be rehabilitated.  

WATER AND SOIL

Every tree species has specific needs, so make sure you know what type of trees are in your yard in order to care for them appropriately. Some trees are drought-tolerant and can go for long periods of time without water. However, for trees that do need water more consistently—and if they aren't receiving enough rain—they should be watered until the soil is moist. Newly planted trees will need more water and attention, especially during the first two years, to help foster root establishment. To help trees retain enough water, cover the soil with wood mulch.

There are six main types of soil—sand, silt, peat, loam, chalky and clay—and each requires different types of care, as soil and root management are essential to good tree health. If soil composition is too compact, it will prevent trees from growing and should be aerated. Soil should also maintain the right level of moisture and nutrients in order to keep trees healthy, otherwise trees could develop disease, become weak or die, making them a potential hazard to your home during a storm.

Storm Damage Cleanup and Restoration

When a storm hits your home, you need help immediately. Our team can quickly respond, help prevent secondary damage, and help reduce restoration costs.

Call us, we're here to help (704) 393-7890.

Why Sewers Backup

5/1/2019 (Permalink)

Sewer Backup Sewer Backup

Sewer Backup can be caused by various things, including storm damage from heavy rains.

Here are a few commons causes of sewer backup:

1. Roots can penetrate and clog the sewer line. Trees and shrubs can send out thousands of feet of tendrils a year in search of water. A small crack in a pipe can be an open invitation to the plant to spread the crack and enjoy the water. As the roots enter the pipe, they often spread quickly until the roots have created a mass that can easily block the pipe and cause a sewer backup.

2. Clogs can form in drain pipes or lateral sewer lines. A sink, tub, or toilet can easily clog over time as the sewer pipes corrode or fill with sludge. This is especially true if pipes are used to discard household debris from garbage disposals and toilet flushes. Hair buildup can also easily clog drain pipes.

3. Heavy rains can cause city-wide sewer malfunctions. As rain water or melting snow enter over-taxed sewer lines, there can be nowhere for the water to go. The liquid can fill streets and drainage lines until finally, a cesspit backup is often the result. As the water levels rise, so can the sewage levels.

4. Sewer lines can break or collapse. The lateral line between the building and the street were often historically built from clay or cast-iron pipes. The fragile pipes can sometimes collapse as they crack with age and can often cause in sewer problems. 

When a sewer backup occurs, it can fill the building with black water, fecal matter, and bacteria. It can also lead to the destruction of possessions and damage to the building structure.

Contact our water damage repair team at the first sign of sewer problems. Our technicians can take immediate action and protect the property from further water damage.