Recent Storm Damage Posts
3 Tips for Preventing Mold After a Flood
After flooding or water damage, open windows and doors of the house to aid in the drying out process
Preventing Mold After Flood
Every homeowner hopes to escape the devastating effects of a flood. Whether you live near the coast or somewhere with torrential storms, flooding is a possibility for many residents. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to prepare for catastrophic events. One of the most damaging effects of a flood is mold. Here are three tips for preventing mold growth after a flood.
1. Use Caution Upon Reentry
The most important point to remember before reentering your home after a flood is safety. Try your best to enter your home during the day so that you don’t have to turn on any power. Never try to turn on the electricity if you’re standing in water. Instead, contact an electrician to turn the power on. Once you enter your home, pay attention to smells, especially gas. If you do notice a gas smell, leave your home immediately and contact the gas company. If there is no gas smell, open the windows and doors to air out your Baton Rouge, LA, home.
2. Dry Your Home
To prevent mold growth, you need to dry out your home as fast as possible. Mold can grow and spread in as little as 48 hours; thus, it’s prudent to work quickly. Once an electrician has determined that it’s safe for you to use power, use a wet-dry vacuum to get rid of standing water. Open up your windows and doors to assist in the drying process. Fans are good to help remove moisture but be sure to point them near windows or doors so that air is blowing outside your home and not inward. You don’t want to spread mold by circulating the mold spores in your home.
3. Contact Professionals
Mold can cause significant damage to your home. In order to ensure a thorough and safe clean up, it’s wise to contact mold remediation specialists. These technicians have the training, equipment, and expertise to safely and effectively remediate any mold growth in your home.
While you hope to never experience flooding in your lifetime, it’s wise to know what to do in an emergency situation. Always remember safety is paramount upon reentering your home, dry out your home as quickly as possible and contact professionals to assist with mold removal.
Emergency planning for your Pets
SERVPRO of South Baton Rouge understands how important your pets are. They are family!
- Know what disasters could affect your area, which could call for an evacuation and when to shelter in place.
- Keep a NOAA Weather Radio tuned to your local emergency station and monitor TV, radio, and follow mobile alert and mobile warnings about severe weather in your area.
- Download the FEMA app, receive weather alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five different locations anywhere in the United States.
Make a Plan
Remember, during a disaster what’s good for you is good for your pet, so get them ready today.
If you leave your pets behind, they may be lost, injured – or worse. Never leave a pet chained outdoors. Plan options include:
- Create a buddy system in case you’re not home. Ask a trusted neighbor to check on your animals.
- Identify shelters. For public health reasons, many emergency shelters cannot accept pets.
- Find pet friendly hotels along your evacuation route and keep a list in your pet’s emergency kit.
- Locate boarding facilities or animal hospitals near your evacuation shelter.
- Consider an out-of-town friend or relative
- Locate a veterinarian or animal hospital in the area where you may be seeking temporary shelter, in case your pet needs medical care. Add the contact information to your emergency kit.
- Have your pet microchipped and make sure that you not only keep your address and phone number up-to-date, but that you also include contact info for an emergency contact outside of your immediate area.
- Call your local emergency management office, animal shelter or animal control office to get advice and information.
- If you are unable to return to your home right away, you may need to board your pet. Find out where pet boarding facilities are located.
- Most boarding kennels, veterinarians and animal shelters will need your pet's medical records to make sure all vaccinations are current.
- If you have no alternative but to leave your pet at home, there are some precautions you must take, but remember that leaving your pet at home alone can place your animal in great danger!
Saving your personal belongings post-flood
Cleanup after a flood is different than any other type of cleaning. If your home has been hit by a storm, hurricane, or levy break, you know it can be a nightmare. Sifting through personal possessions soaked in filthy black water can be difficult, and while the items may be filled with memories, they can also now carry contaminants. Once content cleaning begins, it can be difficult to know what can be saved and what needs to be discarded. Here are a few simple rules for cleaning up after a deluge.
1. If an item can soak up water, think of it like a sponge filled with potential toxins. This includes clothing, bedding, carpets, and couches.
2. Nonporous surfaces can often be cleaned with a disinfectant. Special care should be taken to remove any possibility of mold or mildew growth.
3. If two surfaces touch on a nonporous item, the possibility of mold or mildew rises astronomically. Think oil paintings in frames, handles on metal cabinets, and plastic drawer bins.
4. Textiles can often be salvaged if they can be washed and dried within 48 hours. There are exceptions to fabric content cleaning, however. It is not recommended that wool, leather, and silk items be washed. Often, wool can shrink, leather may crack or lose its shape, and silk can become brittle after being in a dryer.
5. If you have access to a working bathtub immediately after a flood, you can often save nonporous objects. Soak small items of metal, plastic, or other manufactured materials in a disinfecting solution until you have time to deal with them.
6. Freeze damaged heirloom books, framed pictures, or important papers in plastic bags. This may allow more time to contemplate conservation efforts such as photocopying.
Consider contacting a flood restoration specialist team in Baton Rouge, LA, to help with content cleaning and item removal after a saturating water disaster. Knowledgeable experts can provide drying and dehumidifying equipment and bring in a workforce to assist with cleanup efforts.
Guidelines for Cleaning a Home After a Flood
Water extraction in a Gardere,LA home
There is no way around it; a flood is a destructive event, especially if it hits your home in Gardere, LA. At the minimum, your home will likely suffer water damage that harms contents, flooring, walls, and carpeting. Your first impulse, once you know everyone is safe, is to begin the cleanup process as soon as possible. Speed is important, but so is safety and making sure the right methods are used. Working with a local storm remediation franchise ensures the highest professional standards of cleaning and restoration are followed. Trained and certified technicians will, in most cases, follow the guidelines recommended by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification agency.
Standards for Restoring a Home
The IICRC publishes brochures that cover practical standards for cleaning for restoring a home affected by a flood or any type of damage caused by water. The guidelines have been developed with the following principles in mind:
- To establish the basic principles of water restoration
- To rely on input from professional organizations
- To make use of companies with practical experience in cleaning methods
Cleaning up after a flood almost always involves the removal of contaminated or black water, which calls for specialized techniques and equipment. This water may contain pathogens, sewage, and harmful chemicals. As a threat to human health, it should be treated with caution and handled professionally.
Choosing the Right Method of Restoration
In the aftermath of a flood, it also is likely that a wide range of materials has suffered water damage. Each material calls for a different method of treatment. The techniques for treating materials such as drywall and insulation differ from the techniques for cleaning clothing and upholstery. The IICRC also publishes recommended standards for cleaning upholstery, treating heating and cooling systems, and dealing with mold containment and assessment. Professional standards have been developed to make sure your home is cleaned and restored to the highest levels.
Heavy rains in Arlington, LA
Flood damage to your Arlington, LA, business can be a major headache. Fortunately, there are some precautions you can take to minimize the damage caused by heavy rains.
Before the Flood
Long before flooding is on the horizon, it is important to make an emergency plan for your business. This plan should include the following information:
- Location of emergency supplies
- Evacuation routes
- Communication protocols
- Higher elevation sheltering locations for employees and customers
When severe weather is imminent, there are some additional steps you can take to mitigate the storm damage. Use sand bags or inflatable dams to form a barrier around your building. If possible, move important items to higher ground.
During the Flood
While the heavy rains are falling, it is important to keep yourself and your employees safe. Make sure to stay informed. If the power is still on, you can get alerts on your phone or computer, and you can watch the local news. If the power is out, listen to your battery-operated radio. Avoid driving and walking through flooded areas.
After the Flood
When the rain has stopped, it is time to begin cleaning up the flood damage. Every situation is different, so the remediation process will vary. The most important thing is your and your employees' safety, so do not begin working until you are sure it is safe. Turn off the power and gas, and wear protective clothing. Then you can begin the cleanup process. First, remove standing water using buckets or pumps. Dry out remaining water using fans and dehumidifiers. Next, begin cleaning all affected items using a disinfectant cleaner. Everything that cannot be sanitized and dried, including fiberglass insulation, should be thrown away. When everything is clean and dry, you can begin making repairs to the damaged items.
Safety should always come first during a flood or other emergency. However, after the danger has passed, you will want to begin cleaning up the flood damage as soon as possible to prevent further problems. An experienced restoration team can help you get your business back to normal quickly and safely.
Keep your home protected against floods
Water damage from floods can cause major problems. Stay educated with current information.
Keep Your Home Secure Against Flood Damage
Flooding of your Baton Rouge, LA., home can cause major problems. Fortunately, there are ways to protect your home from heavy rains.
Maintain Existing Flood Prevention Structures
Many homes have common flood prevention features, such as gutters and sump pumps, already installed. It is important to maintain this equipment. The following are some routine maintenance activities that will help keep your home secure against water damage:
- Clean and inspect gutters (fall and spring)
- Clean storm drains (at least once a year)
- Test sump pump and clean screen (every season)
- Inspect roof (every year)
When completing the above tasks, be sure to check for damage such as loose gutters or missing shingles. The suggested frequency for each task will vary depending on your specific situation. For example, if you have trees near your home, you will likely need to clean your gutters more often. If you suspect that you will be unable to do any of these jobs, you may wish to hire a professional contractor for some or all of your home's routine maintenance tasks.
Consider Home Improvement Projects
In addition to maintaining whatever flood-proofing systems your home already has, you may decide to do some home improvement projects to further protect your home from flooding. The following are some common improvements that you can make to keep your house safe in heavy rains:
- Install any of the above items (gutters, storm drain, sump pump) that you do not already have
- Grade your lawn so that it slopes away from house
- Upgrade seals around windows and doors
Employ Temporary Solutions
Even well-prepared homes may need additional protection during very heavy rains. If a severe storm is headed your way, you may want to install sandbags or other flood protection devices such as inflatable dams.
The above suggestions will help protect your home from flooding. However, even the most well-prepared homes can suffer storm damage. You may need to enlist the help of experienced restoration professionals to get your home back to normal quickly and safely.
Preparing your home or business for a Winter Storm
Water damage and fire damage from winter storms can be a disaster if you ignore the signs.
Part of SERVPRO of South Baton Rouge's community involvement is to educate the public on tips to prevent water damage and fire damage during this winter season. The following are best practices to insure that you do not risk damage to your property:
Weatherproof your home.
- Insulate any water lines that run along exterior walls so your water supply will be less likely to freeze.
- Caulk and weather-strip doors and windows.
- Insulate walls and attic.
- Install storm or thermal-pane windows or cover windows with plastic from the inside.
- Repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on your home or other structure during a storm.
Have your chimney or flue inspected each year.
If you plan to use a fireplace or wood stove for emergency heating, have your chimney or flue inspected each year. Ask your local fire department to recommend an inspector or find one online.
Install a smoke detector and a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector.
- If you’ll be using a fireplace, wood stove, or kerosene heater, install a smoke detector and a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector near the area to be heated. Test them monthly and replace batteries twice a year.
- Keep a multipurpose, dry-chemical fire extinguisher nearby.
- All fuel-burning equipment should be vented to the outside.
- Each winter season have your furnace system and vent checked by a qualified technician to ensure they are functioning properly.
FEMA Flood Map
Flood damage, water damage or storm damage can catch you off guard. Be prepared!
Knowledge is power and when it comes to flooding you want to be very knowledgeable!
Here is the link to the FEMA Flood Map. You enter in your zip code to see whether you are in a flood plain or not.
Whether you are in a high risk zone or not, you may need flood insurance because most homeowners insurance doesn't cover flood damage. If you live in an area with low or moderate flood risk, you are 5 times more likely to experience flood than a fire in your home over the next 30 years. For many, a National Flood Insurance Program's flood insurance policy could cost less than $400 per year. Call your insurance agent today to find out more information.
Also, if you have a business that is in a flood zone and would like an emergency plan in place in case you flood please give SERVPRO of South Baton Rouge a call.
Don't get Scammed by "Storm Chasers"
In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, it is easy to be tricked by a less than professional repair service. Hiring a “storm chaser” will lead to serious headaches, exorbitant costs, poor workmanship and unfinished work that can leave your home or business in worse condition.
To ensure your home or business is restored by a trustworthy and reliable company after devastating flood damage, SERVPRO of South Baton Rouge and the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) has compiled a list of key characteristics to help identify “storm chasers.”
“After a flood, home and business owners are in a vulnerable state,” said Pete Duncanson, IICRC Chairman. “Unfortunately, some individuals will take advantage of people’s hardships. These tips will help you identify the warning signs of a flood restoration scam artist.” To help home owners and businesses properly restore their properties following a disaster, the IICRC identifies the following traits of a “storm chaser”:
1. Too-good-to-be-true prices. Often dubious restoration companies will offer low prices to grab your attention, but be wary of surprise costs that will hurt your wallet. Never let the price of the repairs be the sole criterion for choosing a restoration firm.
2. Requesting upfront cash payments. While it can be a regular practice to deposit up to one-third of the estimated price on the day repairs begin, avoid paying in cash or more than the expected payment. Pay by check or credit card, and pay the final amount only after the work is finished and you are happy with the quality of the repairs.
3. A lack of references. References are easy to check and can help you quickly identify if the company is legitimate and provides good service. Research the company online and check feedback on user-review sites such as Angie’s List or Yelp, or ask friends or business contacts if they have had any experience with the firm.
4. High-pressure tactics. Often, a “storm chaser” will arrive uninvited to your door peddling their services. If the contractor is using high-pressure sales tactics, it is best to turn them away politely and shut the door. Technicians should be courteous, thoroughly explain the scope of work and answer all questions. You should never feel pressure to accept their services.
5. Lack of training. Professional cleaning and restoration firms require management and employees to engage in formal training in a variety of cleaning and restoration disciplines, and these educational efforts will be ongoing. Inquire about the formal training and certifications of technicians who will be working in your home or business. Look for organizations that require their technicians to hold certifications from organizations like the IICRC to ensure the work is done correctly.
6. Inability to show credentials. Never hesitate to ask for proof. Ask to see the individual’s certification card, business license and insurance certificate. To verify a company, you can contact the IICRC which is a not-for-profit standards-setting and credentialing body for the inspection, cleaning and restoration industry. Call the IICRC at 1-844-464-4272 to confirm the certification of any company that has contacted you.
Immediately after a storm, a home or business owner should contact their insurance provider for a storm damage assessment by an adjuster. Insurance companies can often provide a list of credible restoration companies.
If you have any other questions or concerns please give SERVPRO of South Baton Rouge a call.
Team work makes the dream work
SERVPRO of South Baton Rouge is part of a National Team designed to handle any size storm event. When a storm occurs and a region of our country is slammed with inclement weather our national support system kicks into action. SERVPRO of South Baton Rouge can respond anywhere in the United States in conjunction with the large loss division at SERVPRO corporate.
We want you to get back to work immediately which is why SERVPRO of South Baton Rouge has a process. We spare no expense in mobilizing to your community. Whether your home or business is affected, is our goal to minimize the time you’re out of your home or interruption of your business operations.
Please do not hesitate to call if you have any questions or concerns.
Preparing for wind storms
Wind damaged home
If you live in a place prone to windstorms or you know one is coming, then pay close attention to what it takes to prepare. If you currently have a damaged roof or any sign of a roof leak, then your home may not be sound enough to withstand a windstorm. You need to take proper precautions. This may mean repairing any weak areas or covering them so they do not get worse. Here is a list of what you should look out for:
• Broken skylights
• Cracked windows
• Damaged siding
• Missing shingles
A windstorm may cause a variety of problems to your business. On one hand, it may blow off shingles, throw debris at your home or lead to damaged siding. You need to be prepared for just about anything. Not only can the wind cause damage, but the debris the wind brings with it can also. Hard objects can knock shingles off, and large trees may break through your roofing entirely. All of this can lead to a roof leak and further damage.
Once the wind has done its damage, it’s time to pick up the pieces. For any damage done to the roof, tarps can be used to cover gaps created by the missing shingles. These tarps will help keep rain from entering your business while you work on restoration. You want to make sure that you do not have any further water damage. Additionally, you can use plywood to cover the holes on the roof. While repairing the building is one thing, you also want to make sure no other issues arise.
A windstorm can cause costly, extensive damage to your Baton Rouge, LA, business. The best course of action is to reduce the risk wind can cause. Whether you have a roof leak or something more dangerous, don’t let any problems sit until they get worse. In some cases, a professional service may be helpful.
Identifying hail damage
Hail damaged roof
There is no question hail can cause a lot of damage. While some people pay closer attention to their cars or other personal items, others remember how important it is to inspect roofs for further damage. Consider how costly any kind of damage to your roof or ceiling can be. Your business deserves a thorough check by a professional service after a hailstorm.
1. Asphalt Roof Damage
With an asphalt roof, you may find the shingles look shiny after a hailstorm. This is due to hail damage. The roof damage itself will often present as random denting. You may feel the dent is too soft to the touch or you may see a loss of granules. Additionally, the felt may be exposed.
2. Wooden Roofs
Generally, the impacts of hail damage look randomized. You will not usually find a pattern, and you may see split or cracked shingles. When it comes to shingles, they are often an orange or brown color when split. There will often be impact and dent marks over the wood. While roofs can be damaged through other types of weather, it is relatively easy to discern hail damage. Serious splits will have sharp corners and edges rather than the regular wear and tear of a shingle that was damaged over time.
3. Flood Water
Roof damage, especially during rainy seasons will often lead to water damage. Water can seep through the roof and into the attic. If you find wet insulation or mold growth in the attic itself, then you may have a compromised roof. Although it is easier to miss water damage in the attic, you should always check after a large storm.
After hail has caused damage to your South Louisiana business or home, it is important to have it taken care of quickly. This type of damage can only get worse over time. In order to work through mitigation quickly, a restoration company can assess and work through the process with you.
At SERVPRO of South Baton Rouge, we want to make certain you and your family are prepared before the next storm strikes. We urge you to review the following preparedness tips to help safeguard your loved ones in the event of a hurricane:
Design a Family Plan Devise an evacuation plan with your family and chose a designated meeting place in case of separation. It is also worthwhile to conduct practice drills to make certain all family members are familiar with the plan. Create an Emergency Supply Kit This kit should include the following: first aid items, blankets, flashlights, cash, fresh water, nonperishable food items, candles, matches, necessary medication, a radio with batteries, personal hygiene products, baby formula and diapers (if needed), and all important documents should be placed in waterproof document storage bags. Prepare Your Home In anticipation of a hurricane, it is a good idea to prepare the outside of your home from damage caused by wind and debris. Boarding up windows and other glass portions of the home is a good way to prevent breakage. It is important to know that taping windows does not prevent them from breaking. Also, remember to check around your home for hanging tree limbs and shrubs that need to be trimmed. Fill Your Gas Tank It is always a good idea to make sure your car's gas tank is full, just in case an emergency evacuation is ordered. Often times, towns that are in an emergency situation can "shut down," leaving gas stations inoperable. During or after any storm, you can count on SERVPRO of South Baton Rouge to be prepared no matter what the weather brings. Our highly trained staff and state-of-the-art equipment is ready 24/7/365 to help clean-up and restore damaged property, "Like it never even happened."®