Fast Facts on Flooding
Floods rank as one of the most common and widespread natural disasters in the United States. Whether you live near a coastline, along city streets, in the mountains, out in the country, or even in the desert, there is a potential for flooding. Anywhere ut can rain, it can flood.
A variety of events can cause flooding, like: heavy rains, when ocean waves come onshore, if snow melts too fast, or when damns or levees break. A flooding event may occur over a long period and could last days, weeks or longer.
The most dangerous type of flood, a flash flood, happens quickly with little or no warning. Flash floods are the top weather-related killer in the U.S. since they can roll boulders, tear out trees and destroy buildings and bridges. A flash flood is the rapid flooding of low-lying areas in less than 6 hours, caused by intense rainfall from a thunderstorm or several thunderstorms.
At least 25% of the businesses that close after an event like a flood never reopen their doors. As little as one-inch of water can cause costly damage to your property. Over the past 5 years the average flood claim was more than $75,000.
With over 40 years of experience, SERVPRO Franchise Professionals have restored flood damaged homes and businesses from coast to coast. Even minor floods have the potential to cause major damage to a structure if not treated quickly and properly. If a flood strikes your home or business, call your local SERVPRO Franchise Professional.
Flood Safety Tips
- Do not walk through moving water. 6 inches of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground in front of you.
- Do not drive into flooded areas. If floodwaters rise around your car, abandon the car and move to higher ground if you can do so safely. You and the vehicle can be swept away quickly.
- Avoid floodwaters; water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline or raw sewage.
- If your property suffers flood damage, clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwaters may contain sewage and chemicals. Dispose of any food or personal hygiene items exposed to floodwaters.
Teaming up to Help You be Ready
The SERVPRO® Franchise System is teaming up with the American Red Cross to help business and homeowners across the nation get READY for any disaster.
The American Red Cross Ready Rating™ program, is a free, web-based program designed to help businesses, organizations and schools become better prepared for emergencies. Through the Ready Rating program website, readyrating.org, property owners complete a 123-point self-assessment of their level if preparedness for weather-related or other emergencies. The Ready Rating assessment also offers tips and best practices to help improve their level of preparedness.
“Through the generosity of SERVPRO®, the Red Cross will help empower workplaces to re-open more quickly after natural or man-made disasters such as water main breaks, medical emergencies, power outages, tornadoes, floods and hurricanes through the Ready Rating Program,” said Tom Heneghan, manager of Business Continuity Program for Red Cross.
“Up to 40% of businesses never re-open their doors after such disasters; SERVPRO’s partnership will enable more businesses, schools and organizations to become better prepared. We are excited to have SERVPRO join us in community outreach efforts to educate and highlight the importance of community preparedness in neighborhoods across the country.”
“This partnership just makes perfect sense,” said Rick Isaacson, Executive Vice President of SERVPRO Industries, Inc., “and truly completes the readiness equation for businesses and other property owners. The Red Cross Ready Rating Program allows individuals to assess their readiness for a disaster, so they can take all necessary steps before disaster strikes to protect their property from damage and loss. But, when disaster does strike, knowing what to do and who to call saves time-and fast response is key to minimizing damage and downtime. That’s where SERVPRO’s Emergency REAY Program can help. Together, these two programs offer maximum peace of mind to businesses and other organizations.
With SERVPRO’s Emergency READY Program, your local SERVPRO Franchise Professional will establish an Emergency READY Profile (ERP) for your facility. The ERP is a comprehensive document containing critical information about your business, including emergency contact information, shut-off valve locations and priority areas. In the event of an emergency, the ERP can help minimize business interruption by having an immediate plan of action in place for your facility. The ERP is a no-cost assessment; all it requires is a little time, making it a great value that could save time and money in the future.
The time to prepare for a disaster is before it happens. Taking steps to make your property as secure as possible, then having a plan to deal with the aftermath if disaster does strike is just good business sense. For more information about SERVPRO’s Emergency READY program, visit SERVPRO.com/ready. Call your local SERVPRO Franchise Professionals to learn how to develop an Emergency READY Profile for your business and BE READY.
The Behavior of SMOKE
A fire loss can result in complex damages because of the unique behavior of smoke. A trained professional should survey the loss site to determine the extent to which fire, smoke, heat, and moisture impacted building materials and contents.
Your local SERVPRO Franchise Professionals know smoke can penetrate various cavities within the structure, causing hidden damage and odor. Their knowledge of building systems helps them investigate how far smoke damage may have spread. Here are some fats you may not know about smoke:
- Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
- Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
- The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.
The Different Types of Smoke
There are 2 types of smoke-wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, a SERVPRO Franchise Professional will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The Cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identification during pretesting. Here is some additional information:
- Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber
Low Heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.
- Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood
Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefor smoke rises.
- Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire
Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.
- Fuel Oil Soot – Furnace Puff Backs
While “puff backs” can create havoc for homeowners, SERVPRO Franchise Professionals can, in most cases, restore the contents and structure quickly.
- Other Types – Tear gas, fingerprint powder and fire extinguisher residue.
Special loss situations require special care. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals are trained to handle even the toughest of losses.
Plan to Stay in Business
As a business owner or manager, you are a leader in your community and have the opportunity to set an example for your employees, customers, and community to follow.
This year, for National Preparedness Month (NPM), join your community in preparing for emergencies and disasters of all types, and leading efforts to encourage the community as a whole to become more prepared.
Disasters not only devastate individuals and neighborhoods, but entire communities, including businesses of all sizes. As an employer in your community, having a business continuity plan can help protect your company, its employees, and its infrastructure, and maximizes your chances of recovery after an emergency or disaster.
Ready Business asks companies to take 3 simple steps:
- Plan to stay in business;
- Encourage your people to become Ready;
- Protect your investment,
This year, the Ready Campaign and Citizen Corps, with support from members of the National Preparedness Community across the nation, including your local SERVPRO Franchise Professionals, are focusing on encouraging individuals, families, and businesses to take active steps toward becoming Ready. We must work together as a team to ensure that our families, businesses, places of worship, and neighborhoods are Ready.
Ready Business, an extension of the Ready Campaign, helps business owners and managers of small and medium-sized businesses prepare their employees, operations and assets in the event of an emergency. At Ready.gov/business, companies can find vital information on how to get started preparing their organization and addressing their unique needs during an emergency.
Tips to Help Your Business be Ready
- Update and Distribute Emergency Contact Information to your Employees. Additionally, you can create and distribute a list of important emergency numbers in the areas you do business.
- Organize an Emergency Preparedness Procedures review with employees to review your company’s emergency plans.
- Conduct Office Evacuation/Shelter-in-Place Exercises and Drills. Once completed, evaluate how well they worked and if additional training or exercises are needed.
- Put Emergency Items of Display. Showcase an Emergency Supply Kit in your break room or other high-traffic locations and encourage employees to get their own Emergency Supply Kit for their homes.
It’s the Water You Don’t See
With any leak, it’s the water you don’t see that causes the most trouble; especially when the water you don’t see contains bacteria, or causes mold, rot and other unseen damage. Water damage can affect the value of your property. So before you get out the mop bucket and box fan to try and clean it up yourself, consider how this will affect your property.
Your local SERVPRO Franchise Professionals understand how disruptive unseen water damage can be for your business. For this reason, your local SERVPRO Franchise Professionals offer 24-hour emergency response and, under normal circumstances, will have a trained, uniformed technician on-site within four hours to begin emergency mitigation services. By responding quickly with a full line of water cleanup and restoration services, your local SERVPRO Franchise Professionals can help you regain control quickly while drying, deodorizing and protecting your facility and contents.
So, before you risk further damaging the value of your facility by attempting to clean up the mess yourself, call your local SERVPRO Franchise Professionals.
SERVPRO Technicians have the Training and Experience You Need.
A mop and common cleaning products may not be enough for serious water intrusions. Your local SERVPRO Franchise Professionals are trained to safely clean and restore your building, utilizing the following procedures:
- Identify the source/type of water.
- Measure temperature and humidity for drying analysis.
- Survey the extent of damage and inspect the premises.
- Perform emergency water extraction.
- Utilize drying equipment and motoring drying.
- Dispose of refuse.
Celebrate Summer Safely
Each year, families and friends across the country enjoy the summer months with barbeques, camping trips, or by cooling off in a pool or lake. In order to enjoy these occasions, it’s important to keep safety top of mind to ensure you have fun in the sun.
According to a recent study by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, nearly 9,600 Americans are injured by fireworks each year. Another 5.000 are injured by charcoal/wood-burning and propane grill fires. A grill should always be supervised when in use. Keep children and pets a safe distance from the grilling area to prevent accidental burns or tipping of the grill.
If you enjoy lounging by the pool or going for a boat ride to cool off from the summer sun, make sure you exercise caution, especially when children are present. Only swim in approved areas and supervise children at all times when near the water.
The summer season should be a time to make memories and enjoy the great outdoors. The following trips, provided by the National Fire Protection Association, will help keep you safe all summer long.
- When using a charcoal grill, only use starter fluids designated for barbeque grills; do not add fluid after coals have been lit.
- When using a gas grill, ensure the hose connection is tight; check hoses for leaks. Applying soapy water to the hoses will easily and safely reveal and leaks.
- Always wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved PFD (Personal flotation device) when boating, jet-skiing, tubing or water-skiing. Air-filled swimming aids, like water wings or inner tubes, are not substitutes for approved PFDs. An adult should always supervise children using these devices.
- Be sure to extinguish all smoking materials and shut down motors and heating devices before fueling a boat. In case of a spill, wipe up fuel and check for fuel leakage and odors.
- When camping, always use a flame retardant tent and set up camp far away from the campfire. Only use flashlights or battery-powered lanterns inside the tent, not liquid-filled heaters or lanterns.
- Always build a campfire downwind from the tent area. Clear vegetation and dig a pit before building your campfire. Always extinguish the fire before going to sleep or leaving the campsite. To extinguish, cover with dirt or pour water over the fire.
- Store liquid fire starter (not gasoline) away from your tent and campfire and only use dry kindling to freshen a campfire.
- Consider leaving firework use to trained professionals. Stay back at least 500 feet from professional firework displays.
Your local SERVPRO Franchise Professional wishes you a safe and happy summer!
Understanding the Dangers of Mold
From the Ordinary…
Fungi and mold naturally occur in our environment, and they produce some very useful results. For example, yeast is a type of fungi used in preparing breads and other food products. Blue cheese’s unique flavor is attributed to mold, and life-saving penicillin is a product of mold.
… To the Unhealthy
Even though some forms of mold can add value to our lives, other forms can be harmful. Excessive amounts of mold, different types of mold and extended exposure to molds may present health concerns for some people.
Any water intrusion into your office or your home can result in mold growth. This intrusion of water can result from storm damage, plumbing or equipment failures, long-standing leaks, and poor humidity control. When these issues are not addressed, the resulting damage can present increased risk of harmful mold growth.
Some amounts of mold spores are normally present in most environments, but if the humidity and moisture levels in a water-damaged environment are not properly returned to normal, mold spores may grow and multiply to a harmful level.
Organic materials found inside a building, such as wood, paper, drywall and insulation, provide food sources for mold to flourish. Excessive mold growth can lead to indoor environmental conditions that may pose a health threat.
If there is an ongoing moisture problem in the building, be alert for:
- The presence of visible mold.
- Strong, musty odors that may indicate mold is present.
- Any evidence of past moisture problems that might have caused undetected mold growth.
- Excessive humidity.
Help is Here
If you think you or your customer might have a mold problem, call your local SERVPRO Franchise Professional, who is trained in mold remediation.
Before & After
Imagine its 8:00 pm on a Sunday, and you walk into your home after a relaxing vacation expecting to switch on the lights, put the kids to bed then get some rest yourself.
The only problem? A water pipe has burst over the weekend, dumping thousands of gallons of water over your hard wood kitchen floor, your carpeted living room and your cement utility room. You realize this problem is beyond the reach of a shop vac. What do you do now?
When it’s your home or business that’s underwater, mitigation can’t wait. You need mitigation to begin yesterday. If water damage strikes you or your customers, give your local SERVPRO Franchise Professional a call immediately.
The cost of water damages can increase exponentially with time. Wood floors warp, drywall soaks in moisture and mold develops in hard-to-reach areas of your home or business. The benefits of rapid mitigation by a SERVPRO technician are two-fold: your costs go down as potential hazards may be avoided, and your peace of mind goes through the roof.
So if the unthinkable happens to your home or business, allow your local SERVPRO Franchise Professionals to help quickly turn your “before” into a “happily ever after.”
Stay Safe from Summer Storms
While the spring season is known for the potential to experience severe weather, the threat exists throughout the summer months as well. In fact, the potential for severe weather even increases in some areas. Hurricane season in the Atlantic begins June 1st and runs through November 30th. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season begins May 15th also ending November 30th.
While it may be difficult to prepare for the unpredictable, there are steps you can take now to ensure you are ready when disaster strikes. One way to prepare your business for any type of disaster, is to establish an Emergency READY Profile (ERP). Contact your local SERVPRO Franchise Professionals to learn more about the ERP and how it can help you. Consider the following tips when preparing for an approaching storm.
Before the Storm
- Build an emergency supply kit and develop a communication plan.
- Unplug any electrical equipment before the storm arrives.
- Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage.
- If you are outdoors, get inside a building, home or hard top vehicle (not a convertible).
- Shutter windows and secure outside doors. If shutters are not available, close window blinds, shades or curtains.
During the Storm
- Use battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio for updated from local officials
- Avoid contact with corded phones. Cordless and cellular phones are safe to use.
- Avoid contact with electrical equipment or cords.
- Unplug appliances and other electrical items, such as computers. Power surges from lightning can cause serious damage.
- Avoid contact with plumbing. Plumbing and bathroom fixtures can conduct electricity.
- Stay away from windows and doors.
After the Storm
- Never drive through a flooded roadway.
- Stay away from storm-damaged areas to keep from putting yourself at risk.
- Stay away from downed power lines and report them immediately.
Building an Emergency Supply Kit
Building an Emergency Supply Kit
- Water (one gallon per person per day)
- Food (non-perishable 3-day supply)
- Manual can opener
- Battery operated radio, preferable a NOAA weather radio
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Whistle to signal for help
- Dust masks or bandanas
- Plastic sheeting, garbage bags and duct tape
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Hygiene items
- Important documents; copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account information
- Fire extinguisher
- Matches in a waterproof container
Contact your local SERVPRO Franchise Professionals for more readiness tips and tools, including SERVPRO’s Emergency READY Profile (ERP). Having an ERP in place for your facility can help minimize business interruption in the event of a disaster.
Contact your local SERVPRO Franchise Professionals to learn more and be “Ready for whatever happens!”