Recent Storm Damage Posts

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.

What to do If Your House Gets Struck by Lightning

7/24/2019 (Permalink)

Lightning is an amazing natural phenomenon that scientists are still trying to figure out. With bolt temperatures hotter than the sun’s surface and voltages sometimes greater than 100 million volts, lightning is one of the most dangerous and deadly forces on the earth.

This being said, it’s not surprising that lightning has the ability to do major damage to any home that it strikes. It’s important to know ahead of time what to do if your house does get struck by lightning. Knowing what immediate steps to take in a lightning emergency could save you a lot of money and possibly even your life.

HOW DOES LIGHTNING WORK?

A lot of debate surrounds the topic of exactly how lightning is generated. However, scientists agree on the basics: Positive and negative charges separate inside clouds; positive charges move upward, and negative charges move toward the lower portion of the cloud. When enough negative charges build up near the bottom of a cloud, they attempt to reach the positively-charged earth as quickly as possible. 

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN LIGHTNING STRIKES A HOUSE?

If your home ever gets struck by lightning, you will hear a very loud, powerful boom that might shake your entire house. Many homes are built to withstand lightning strikes without succumbing to major damage. This is the purpose of lightning rods; lightning wants to get from the cloud to the ground as quickly as possible, and lightning rods facilitate that journey, providing the fastest route. 

While staying inside your home, away from doors and windows, is the safest place to be during a storm, a couple of dangers exist inside the home when lightning is involved, regardless of whether you have lightning protection in place.

  1. Power Surges: When lightning strikes a house, the electricity often surges through a home’s wiring or plumbing system, searching for the quickest possible route to the ground. Make sure to unplug any electronics (especially valuable ones like TVs or computers), or they could be destroyed. Avoid running water during a lightning storm. You could get electrocuted if you are touching or standing near water or any electronics that are plugged into walls.
  2. Fire: When lightning shoots through a home, there’s a risk for fire. The most common place for a fire to ignite is in the attic, when a lighting bolt comes through the roof or top of the house. However, the heat from the electricity of a lightning bolt that runs through the walls inside your plumbing or wiring could start a fire as well. You may notice it immediately, or it may burn slowly inside the walls without your realizing it for some time.

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR HOUSE GETS STRUCK BY LIGHTNING

  1. First, make sure everyone is okay. If you see fire or smell smoke, evacuate your home immediately.
  2. Call 911, and tell them your home was struck by lightning. Do this regardless of whether or not you detect a fire hazard.
  3. The fire department will come out to your property and assess the area for damage, including using thermal imaging cameras to search inside walls for heat that could or already has started a fire.
  4. Once your home is assessed and found to be safe, you will be able to return inside.
  5. Call your insurance company and explain what has happened.
  6. Call a trustworthy electrician to come out and inspect your home wiring.

Commercial Storm Damage

7/12/2019 (Permalink)

THE IMPORTANCE OF COMMERCIAL STORM DAMAGE REPAIR

  • When a major weather event rolls through and you have the dismaying experience of discovering that it has damaged your commercial building, you need an immediate solution. 
  • We move quickly. The longer damage goes unresolved, the worse it gets. We understand that you need your property repaired as quickly as possible, and that is why we put an emphasis on availability and promptness. We want to save you money!
  • We help you navigate insurance. Speaking of saving money, insurance can be a significant help when you face damages from natural disasters. However, navigating it can be difficult. Let us help you navigate insurance so you can get on with your life as quickly as possible.

How to Check for Storm Damage

5/9/2019 (Permalink)

What Does Commercial Flood Insurance Cover?

Commercial Flood Insurance helps protect your business from the damage costs that come from floodwater. A commercial flood insurance policy will not only protect the location of your business but also the physical contents and assets. A commercial flood insurance policy is designed to protect your business if your floors, walls, ceilings, equipment and fixtures as well as furniture, inventory and business property sustain floodwater damage. Call today to get a quote and find out how easy and affordable it is to add flood insurance protection to your portfolio of business coverage's. 

Do I Need Commercial Flood Insurance?

If your business property insurance doesn’t cover flood damage – and most don’t – you should consider adding a commercial flood insurance policy. Start with a commercial flood insurance quote. Even if you live in an area that doesn’t flood, you’ll need a policy if: 
  • You run your business in an area that has cold, snowy winters and warm springs. Fast melting snow is one of the top causes for commercial flooding.
  • You experience moderate rainfall during the year. Even with moderate rainfall, a drain could become clogged and eventually overflow into your place of business and cause flood damage.

How Does a Commercial Flood Insurance Policy Work?

Flood insurance from The Hartford is provided through the National Flood Insurance Prodgram managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Typically, the government requires a 30-day waiting period on new flood insurance policies. So it’s important to buy a commercial flood policy well before a potential flood event is headed your way.

Tree Maintenance

5/9/2019 (Permalink)

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.

Commercial Storm Preparation

5/1/2019 (Permalink)

  1. Check your insurance coverage. Make sure that your business or commercial property is protected against the most common types of storm damage in your region, including flood water. This may involve taking additional riders or endorsements on top of a standard business insurance policy.
  2. Check stores of emergency supplies. A commercial property should have a store of sandbags and polyethylene sheeting, hand tools, and possibly a generator and fuel supplies in the event of a storm.
  3. Have a data protection plan in place. Insurers can replace equipment that sustains storm damage, but it is much more difficult to restore corrupted or lost data. Businesses should have data backup plans in place well before a storm and follow protocols to prevent information loss.
  4. Come up with plans for evacuation and property safety. You should have a plan to limit damage as a storm is approaching. Lift and disconnect appliances, fixtures, and wiring. Shut off the flow of electricity to non-necessary appliances. You should also have a detailed evacuation plan for all occupants and visitors in the building posted in visible areas throughout the structure.

Who to Call When Trees Fall on Your Home

5/1/2019 (Permalink)

Whether it was caused by root rot or strong winds, if a tree has fallen on your house, there’s a series of steps you’ll need to follow to get your house and property back to normal. Hurricanes, floods and snowstorms are a few types of weather conditions that can cause trees to fall, which could result in roof and interior damage. While older and diseased trees are more vulnerable to extreme weather and high winds, remember that even strong, healthy trees can topple under these conditions. Fallen trees are one of the main causes of roof damage, according to the National Storm Damage Center, costing more than $1 billion in property damage each year. From tree removal to roof repair and everything in between, learn what you need to do and who you need to contact to recover from storm damage.

1. Contact SERVPRO of Northwest Charlotte immediately. They will send a project manager out on site quickly. Once on site they will determine what equipment is needed to get the tree off of your home. 

2. If there is a lot of rain the inside of the home might be damaged. SERVPRO can handle all of the cleanup and drying to get your home back to pre loss condition. 

3. If there is rebuilding necessary in results of the tree damage, SERVPRO of Northwest Charlotte's construction team will be able to handle the job from start to finish. 

Cleaning Up Your Business After Storm Damage

5/1/2019 (Permalink)

Living in North Carolina there are many cases where storms cause significant damage to your business or the building you operate your business out of. If that is the case SERVPRO of northwest Charlotte is here to help. We want to make sure that you have help from start to finish getting your business back up and operational again. 

In most cases high winds will cause significant wind damage. This can cause shingles to come off, trees flying into windows and other types of high impact damage. SERVPRO of Northwest Charlotte has a team in place that can handle all of the situations 24/7, 365 days a year. 

It is important if you have any questions to reach out to us at anytime. We hope you don't experience a severe storm, but if you do know that we are here for you. 

Why Sewers Backup

5/1/2019 (Permalink)

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 a water damage repair team at the first sign of sewer problems. The professionals can take immediate action and protect the property from further water damage.