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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Archived Storm Damage Blog Posts

Stormy Weather Ahead: Tips to Protect Your Electronics During Storms

5/15/2024 (Permalink)

As storm season approaches, it's crucial to take proactive steps to protect your electronic devices from potential damage. Lightning strikes, power surges, and water leaks pose significant threats to your valuable electronics, including computers, televisions, and other household appliances. In this blog post, we'll explore practical tips to help you protect your electronics during storms and minimize the risk of damage.

Unplug Devices During Storms

One of the most effective ways to protect your electronics during a storm is to unplug them from power outlets. Lightning strikes and power surges can cause significant damage to devices that are plugged in, so it's best to disconnect them from power sources until the storm passes.

Use Surge Protectors

Install surge protectors on electrical outlets to provide an additional layer of protection for your electronics. Surge protectors can help absorb excess voltage caused by lightning strikes or power surges, preventing damage to your devices. Be sure to use surge protectors that are rated for the specific voltage requirements of your electronics.

Invest in UPS Devices

Consider investing in uninterruptible power supply (UPS) devices for critical electronics, such as computers and networking equipment. UPS devices provide battery backup power in the event of a power outage, allowing you to safely shut down your devices and prevent data loss or hardware damage.

Secure Outdoor Electronics

If you have outdoor electronics, such as security cameras or outdoor speakers, ensure they are properly secured and protected from the elements. Consider installing weatherproof enclosures or covers to shield outdoor electronics from rain, wind, and debris during storms.

Create a Safe Storage Space

Designate a safe storage space for your electronics during storms, preferably in an interior room away from windows and doors. If possible, store electronics in sealed containers or plastic bags to protect them from water damage in the event of a roof leak or flooding.

Install Lightning Protection Systems

For added peace of mind, consider installing lightning protection systems, such as lightning rods or conductive pathways, to direct lightning strikes away from your home and electronics. Consult with a professional electrician or lightning protection specialist to assess your property's risk and determine the appropriate protection measures.

Stay Informed and Prepared

Stay informed about weather forecasts and storm warnings in your area, and take proactive measures to prepare your home and electronics accordingly. Have a plan in place for safely shutting down and disconnecting your devices during storms, and keep emergency supplies on hand in case of power outages or other storm-related emergencies.

By following these practical tips, you can help protect your electronics from storm damage and minimize the risk of costly repairs or replacements. Prioritize safety and preparedness to ensure that your devices remain safe and functional during stormy weather conditions. If your electronics do sustain damage during a storm, contact a professional restoration company like SERVPRO® for prompt and reliable assistance.

Staying Connected: The Importance of Emergency Communication During Storms

1/3/2024 (Permalink)

As storms brew and skies darken, effective communication becomes a crucial lifeline for communities facing potential threats. Local alert systems play a pivotal role in disseminating timely information and ensuring the safety of residents. In this blog, we'll explore the significance of emergency communication during storms, focusing on the role of local alert systems.

The Need for Timely Information

Storms, whether hurricanes, tornadoes, or severe thunderstorms, can escalate rapidly, leaving little time for individuals to react. Timely and accurate information is the key to making informed decisions about evacuation, seeking shelter, or taking other necessary precautions. Local alert systems bridge this gap by providing real-time updates directly to residents.

Types of Local Alert Systems

Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA)

WEA, also known as emergency alerts or Amber alerts, are short emergency messages sent by authorized government alerting authorities through mobile carriers. These messages include alerts about severe weather, local emergencies requiring evacuation or immediate action, AMBER alerts, and Presidential Alerts during a national emergency.

Weather Radio

NOAA Weather Radio (NWR) broadcasts continuous weather information directly from the nearest National Weather Service (NWS) office. These broadcasts provide up-to-date information on severe weather, including storms, tornadoes, and hurricanes. Weather radios are equipped with alarms that automatically activate during emergency broadcasts.

Emergency Alert System (EAS)

The Emergency Alert System is a national public warning system that allows the President to address the nation during emergencies. It also enables local authorities to provide emergency information, including severe weather alerts, imminent threats, AMBER alerts, and more, through radio and television broadcasts.

Local Community Alert Systems

Many communities have their own alert systems, often utilizing text messages, emails, phone calls, or social media to disseminate information quickly. Residents can sign up for these services to receive alerts specific to their area, including evacuation notices, road closures, and other critical updates.

How to Stay Connected

Register for Local Alert Systems

Ensure you are registered for local alert systems in your area. Many communities have dedicated platforms or services that allow residents to sign up for alerts. This information is often available on local government websites or through community outreach programs.

Enable Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA)

Most modern smartphones are automatically enabled to receive Wireless Emergency Alerts. However, it's a good idea to check your phone's settings to ensure that these alerts are activated. This can typically be found in the "Emergency Alerts" or "Government Alerts" section of your phone settings.

Stay Informed Through Multiple Channels

Relying on multiple sources for information is a smart strategy during storms. Utilize a combination of local alert systems, NOAA Weather Radio, and mainstream media to receive comprehensive and up-to-date information.

Have a Weather Radio

Consider investing in a NOAA Weather Radio for your home. These radios provide continuous weather information and automatically activate alarms during emergency broadcasts, ensuring you receive critical alerts even if you're not actively monitoring the situation.

In the face of storms, staying connected through local alert systems is a non-negotiable aspect of personal safety. By taking advantage of these communication channels, residents can receive timely information, make informed decisions, and take appropriate actions to protect themselves and their families. In the storm's turbulent environment, effective communication is the lifeline that guides communities to safety.

Understanding the Impact of Winter Storms on Your Home

9/27/2023 (Permalink)

Winter storms in Fort Collins, CO, can bring a range of hazards, including heavy snowfall, freezing rain, and strong winds. These storms can impact your home in various ways, from roof damage to frozen pipes and power outages. Understanding the potential impacts of winter storms on your home is critical in taking proactive measures to protect your property. In this blog post, we will explore some of the common ways that Pacific Northwest winter storms can affect your home.

Roof Damage

During winter storms, heavy snow and ice buildup on your roof can cause significant damage. The additional weight of snow and ice can cause stress on your roof, leading to leaks, structural damage, and potential collapse. Strong winds can exacerbate the situation by causing ice and snow to shift, leading to further damage to your roof. It's essential to remove excess snow and ice promptly, engage with a roofing professional to inspect your roof, and take appropriate measures to safeguard against potential damage.

Frozen Pipes

One of the most common impacts of winter storms on your home is frozen pipes. When temperatures dip below freezing, the water inside your pipes can freeze, leading to cracks, leaks, and even burst pipes. This can cause significant water damage and expensive repairs. To prevent frozen pipes, ensure that your pipes are adequately insulated and that your home's temperature stays above 55 degrees Fahrenheit during the winter months. If you're leaving your home for a prolonged period, consider draining your pipes or leaving cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate.

Power Outages

Winter storms can cause power outages, leaving your home without electricity or heat. This can be dangerous, especially during prolonged periods of cold weather. In such cases, emergency preparedness is crucial. Consider investing in a generator, having extra blankets and warm clothing on hand, and stocking up on non-perishable food and water. Ensure that you have a working carbon monoxide detector before operating generators or alternate heating sources to avoid any dangerous build-up of fumes.

Structural Damage

Winter storms can cause significant structural damage to your home, especially in situations where the storm causes water to seep into the house. Long periods of exposure to moisture can lead to mold growth, which can cause health problems and compromise the structural integrity of your home. Ensure that your home's exterior is adequately sealed, gutters and downspouts are clear of debris to prevent water pooling, and that foundation vents are closed to prevent wind-blown debris.

Landscaping Hazards

During winter storms, trees, and other outdoor plants can pose hazards to your home. Heavy snow and ice buildup on trees and branches can cause them to break, potentially falling on your home and causing significant damage. Additionally, high winds can make trees unstable, leading to their uprooting. Ensure that trees around your home are healthy and well-maintained, trimming back branches that may pose a threat to your property.

Understanding the potential impacts of winter storms on your home is crucial in taking proactive measures to protect your property. Roof damage, frozen pipes, power outages, structural damage, and landscaping hazards are some of the common ways that winter storms can affect your home. Take steps such as adequate insulation, engaging with professionals to inspect your roof, and having an emergency preparedness kit to safeguard yourself against any potential damage. By being prepared and proactive, you can help ensure the safety and longevity of your home.

Cleaning and Salvaging Your Belongings After a Flood: Tips and Tricks

6/14/2023 (Permalink)

Flooding can be a devastating event that can cause extensive damage to your property and belongings. After a flood, it's important to take immediate action to clean up and salvage your belongings. Here are some steps to follow when cleaning your contents after a flood.

Assess the damage

Before you begin cleaning your contents, assess the damage and determine what can be salvaged and what needs to be discarded. Be sure to take photos of the damage for insurance purposes.

Wear protective gear

When cleaning up after a flood, it's important to wear protective gear, including gloves, masks, and boots. Floodwater can contain harmful bacteria and contaminants, so it's important to take precautions to avoid exposure.

Remove the water 

Use a wet vacuum or pump to remove any standing water from your property. Open doors and windows to help with ventilation and drying.

Clean and disinfect

Thoroughly clean and disinfect all affected surfaces, including walls, floors, and furniture. Use a disinfectant solution or a mixture of bleach and water to kill any bacteria or mold. Dry out your contents using fans and dehumidifiers. If possible, move items to a dry, well-ventilated area to speed up the drying process.

Salvage what you can

Salvage any items that can be saved, such as clothing, books, and furniture. Be sure to clean and disinfect these items before using or storing them. Dispose of any items that cannot be salvaged, such as electronics, mattresses, and carpeting. Be sure to follow local guidelines for disposing of flood-damaged items.

Preventative measures

To prevent flood damage in the future, consider taking preventative measures such as installing flood barriers, waterproofing your basement or crawlspace, and elevating electrical systems and appliances. You can also create an emergency preparedness plan that includes evacuation procedures, emergency contact information, and a list of important documents and belongings to grab in case of an emergency. 

It's important to note that some items may require professional cleaning or restoration services. This includes items such as artwork, antiques, and electronics. If you're unsure about how to clean or salvage a particular item, it's best to consult a professional. Additionally, be sure to document any damage and keep all receipts and documentation related to the cleanup and restoration process for insurance purposes. With proper care and attention, you can restore your property and belongings after a flood and move forward from this difficult experience. 

Protect Your Business With a Flood Policy

8/30/2022 (Permalink)

ceiling tiles removed due to roof leak and storm Storm damage to a Fort Collins commercial building.

Three Things To Know About a Commercial Flood Policy

If your business in Fort Collins, CO, becomes damaged in a flood, you could be out thousands of dollars unless you have commercial insurance to cover such losses. Most regular insurance does not cover flooding due to storms. Flood insurance can be purchased separately through The National Flood Insurance Program, which consists of around 60 providers and is managed by FEMA.

1. The Building Is Protected
Floodwater can seep in and cause all kinds of damage to different types of materials including walls, carpeting, appliances, plumbing, and electrical equipment. Luckily, commercial flood insurance usually covers all of these items and more. Coverage generally includes the main building, as well as any detached garages or other facilities.

2. The Contents Inside the Building Are Covered
In addition to the main components of the building, commercial insurance may cover less-permanent structures too. Rugs, curtains, furniture, and other valuable materials that are not part of the building may also be protected. It is a good idea to take pictures of any items before a disaster has a chance to strike. A professional restoration company can often deal with damage to important paperwork and electronics.

3. Not Everything Is Covered
A commercial flood policy does not cover items that are unrelated to the physical structure of your business. For example, cars, other vehicles, or losses incurred during a business outage are not typically covered under these policies. Most deal with flooding due to storms or broken levies but may not apply to problems of flooding originating inside the building. If you have flooding from a broken pipe or sump pump, you may need a different type of insurance for that damage.
Because just 1 inch of floodwater can cause up to $25,000 in damage, it is important to have flood insurance for your business. Read your paperwork carefully to see exactly what is covered by your commercial insurance policy.

5 Flood Preparation Safety Tips

7/15/2022 (Permalink)

Flood Safety Tips In Case Of An Emergency

Dangerous floodwaters can sweep through your property at any time, especially if a severe storm is on the horizon. Taking flood safety protocol seriously is vital when it comes to protecting yourself, your family and your property. Utilize the following safety tips if your home in Fort Collins, CO, is in danger of falling victim to hazardous floodwaters.

1. Create an Emergency Response Plan for Your Household.
Everyone in the household needs to be prepared to face a flood. Make sure each member knows what to do, where to go, and how to properly react in the case of an emergency. Make time to regularly discuss and practice your emergency response plan.

2. Build an Emergency Supply Kit.
Severe floods can sometimes leave people stranded for long periods of time. It's important to make sure that you have the necessary supplies on hand, should this happen to you. Suggested items to pack include, but are not limited to, a flashlight, extra batteries, bandages, gauze, tape and a battery powered radio.

3. Listen and Obey to Emergency Response Teams.
First responders and other local authorities exist to protect you. Ignoring or disobeying them can put a lot of people in serious danger.

4. Waterproof and Relocate Valuable Possessions.
Any important personal items that aren't waterproof, such as electronic devices and important documents, should be sealed in waterproof containers and placed on high shelves that are at least one foot above the projected flood level.

5. Never Enter Flood Water.
This is the golden rule of flood safety. It only takes 6 inches of moving water to knock you off your feet and one foot to sweep your car downstream. Standing floodwater isn't much safer, as it could potentially contain dangerous biohazards or an electrical charge.
It is vital that you take flood safety seriously in the case of an emergency. Doing so can help keep you, your household, and your property safe. Contact flood remediation experts if your home has experienced any type of water damage following a flood or severe storm.

Flood Damage: What To Know Before Cleaning

6/6/2022 (Permalink)

Two air movers placed on the floor A home that experiences flooding needs to be dried out and cleaned up as soon as possible.

Homeowners in Fort Collins, CO, who experience flooding need to act fast. Even what may seem like a small amount of moisture may easily turn into major water damage. While quickly addressing the issue is essential, it’s vital to know the source of the issue before delving into the cleanup process.

Water Loss Categories

Not all water entering a home is equal. There are three categories of water loss that are determined by the water source and potential contaminants.

Clean Water: Considered safe water, it is considered water that is free of toxins. Common sources include a pipe burst or sink overflow.
Grey Water: This type may have chemicals or microbes that need to be properly dealt with. This type of damage is often caused by appliance leaks, such as the dishwasher or washing machine.
Black Water: Often associated with flooding and rising groundwater, it has a plethora of contaminants that require additional levels of safety during cleanup.

Flood Damage Cleanup
Each category of water has its own cleanup requirements. An overflowing sink caught early merely requires extracting the water, drying the area out and sanitizing it. The following two categories are not quite as simple. Depending on the extent of the damage, a grey water issue may be too much to handle and eventually turn into Category 3. The cleanup process often will mean the removal and replacement of drywall and other porous components in the home. In most cases, it’s best to secure the services of a water and mold damage restoration company. It will have certified technicians trained on cleanup protocols as well as the equipment needed to prevent mold growth and salvage affected items.
A home that experiences flooding needs to be dried out and cleaned up as soon as possible. Before delving in, it's important to know the source of the damage and take the necessary safety precautions.

Storm Damage vs. Flood Damage: What's the Difference?

4/25/2022 (Permalink)

Ceiling tiles damaged by water Storm damage in a Fort Collins commercial building.

What's the Difference Between Storm and Flood Damage?

There are a lot of things you probably don't want to struggle with on your property out of everything that could be on that list, flood and storm damage are likely at the top for most people. However, this begs the question: if they're both caused by water, how do you tell them apart? Here's a quick look at the difference between the two.

Storm Damage

Regardless of where it happens in Fort Collins, CO, damage to property qualifies as storm damage if it was caused by one of the following:

  • Rain
  • Wind
  • Lightning
  • Tornadoes
  • Cyclones
  • Hail
  • Waterspouts
  • Other natural disasters

The physical effects of a storm can usually be seen in the form of damaged shingles, a leaky roof, broken windows, holes in the wall and external house fixtures being torn away from the structure. As long as the damage wasn't caused by the overflow of a body of water during the storm, it should technically qualify as storm damage. It's important to note that earthquakes aren't typically covered in this category.

Flood Damage

Unlike a storm, damage from flooding is typically regarded as any normally dry land being covered by water that has escaped from a river, creek, lake or other body of water. The damage is still considered flood damage whether or not it was caused naturally or by an external force even if the flood came from a canal, dam or reservoir after being modified, it still qualifies in the same category. If the damage came from a flood that was caused by inclement weather, it should still count as flooding so long as the storm itself isn't what damaged the building.

Whether you're dealing with floods or storm damage in Fort Collins, CO, it's important to know the difference between the two. Homeowner's insurance can be very particular about what is covered under a specific category, so speak with your agent if you're unsure what you're protected against.

Preparing a Commercial Building for a Thunderstorm

4/6/2022 (Permalink)

Ceiling collapsed from commercial, debris on the floor Commercial storm cleanup in Fort Collins, CO.

Getting Ready for a Thunderstorm in a Commercial Building

Despite its name, a thunderstorm does not only include thunder. It may also feature:

  • Wind
  • Heavy rain
  • Lightning
  • Hail

Each of these weather events comes with its own hazards. A heavy rain storm, for instance, can cause flash flooding in Fort Collins, CO. High winds, meanwhile, can damage buildings or knock out power. By following the below steps, you can mitigate the harm caused by severe storms.

Know Your Risk

As the bad weather approaches, you may hear meteorologists issue a severe thunderstorm warning or watch for your area. You should know the difference between these two terms. A watch is declared when severe storms are possible. A warning, however, is issued when radar or individuals have detected the bad weather nearby.

Prepare in Advance

If a major rain storm is heading to your area, you should get your property ready. Bring inside any exterior items that are not attached to the ground. This will prevent those things from flying away in heavy winds.
You should also trim any trees or shrubbery growing near the building. Remove any damaged branches so they do not fall onto the structure during the storm.
An emergency kit is a valuable resource for your tenants. It should include necessary supplies and the contact information for storm damage restoration experts.

Keep Everyone Safe

Finally, make sure all of your tenants know what to do when the storm arrives. Have them close their windows and doors. They should stay away from the windows, as well. Remind them not to use electrical equipment or their plumbing system, either.
A rain storm can be harmful to your property, especially if the severe weather includes hail or heavy winds. Before the storm arrives, remove loose outdoor items from your landscape and trim any trees that are too close to the buildings. You should also prepare an emergency kit for each of your tenants. As the storm approaches, stay up-to-date on the latest alerts so you know when the threat has passed.

5 Steps To Clean Contents After a Flood

1/11/2022 (Permalink)

Flood cut performed on a drywall, air mover placed on direction to drywall Experts recommend the use of air movers and dehumidifiers to prevent mold.

Five Content Cleaning Steps

The contents in a flooded home may suffer severe damage. Storm and water damage mitigation and restoration companies follow these five content cleaning steps to care for items exposed to flooding.

1. Determine What Can Be Cleaned

Most hard or non-porous items can be cleaned and disinfected, but porous contents and building materials may not withstand cleaning. It also might not be possible to ensure that these contents are completely clean and do not pose any recontamination risk. Ask restoration experts whether it is worth the time and effort necessary to try to clean porous items.

2. Clean and Disinfect Contents

The content cleaning process involves removing dirt and debris and disinfecting items. Both of these steps are critical. Flood water is considered Category Three and may contain chemicals, microbes, or solid waste. For this reason, it is essential to make sure that all items exposed to flooding are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized.

3. Clean and Disinfect Flooded Areas

It is also important to clean and treat building materials exposed to flooding. Do not restore clean contents to an area that has not yet been cleaned, treated, and allowed to dry. Doing so can result in recontamination and prolong the mitigation and restoration process.

4. Allow Affected Areas To Dry

Moisture resulting from flooding can lead to mold growth. Experts recommend the use of air movers and dehumidifiers to prevent mold.

5. Restore Contents

Once an area has been cleaned, disinfected, and dried, you may start putting contents back into your house. Be sure to avoid re-introducing any items that have not been cleaned and treated.

Following these measures after a flood can properly clean the contents and affected areas of your home in Fort Collins, CO. Content cleaning professionals are capable of achieving the best results in the least amount of time, which can help to prevent secondary damage such as mold growth.