Flood and Storm Damage Restoration Frequently Asked Questions
Has a storm affected your property? Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about services available following a storm.
Cleaning up after a storm can be a big job, whether the damage was caused by a tornado, hurricane, flooding, snow or ice storm. The most important part of the cleanup process is safety, so be sure that the area you’re working on has been deemed safe to enter structurally, and that no electrical, dangerous materials, or other hazards are present.
It’s important to wear the right safety gear when cleaning up after a disaster. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this gear includes:
- Hard hats
- N95 masks or a respirator
- Waterproof boots with a steel toe and insole
- Earplugs or protective headphones
- Having two fire extinguishers on site
It’s a good idea to work with others if you can, and get help lifting heavy items. Try to decide which tasks are the most important and tackle those first. Rest when you’re tired.
Don’t hesitate to call SERVPRO if the job seems overwhelming, and especially if water, mold or sewage is involved. During large storm events our Disaster Recovery Team assembles locally with the necessary crews and equipment to handle these extreme cleanup situations that require extra resources.
Storm damage may be covered by your insurance policy, but you’ll need to reach out to your agent to get specifics about your particular coverage. It’s important to note that your home must be maintained to a reasonable standard. Otherwise, it could be hard to prove that the storm was the cause of the damage versus a lack of proper maintenance and general wear and tear.
SERVPRO provides many of the services you may need after a storm blows through your area. We provide emergency roof tarping and board-up services to help prevent additional damage from the elements and provide security to your property. This service may be needed immediately if your property was damaged by falling trees, hail, high winds, tornado debris or fire. Locate your local SERVPRO here.
Immediately after a storm, it’s natural to want to assess your area for damage. Be sure the area is safe first, as downed power lines, live electricity, contaminated water, and construction materials are a common hazard.
Once deemed safe, check your home inside and out for damage. Work to secure your home if any breach has occurred, like boarding up openings or tarping over roof damage. If an internal water leak is found, turn off the water source to stop further damage. Survey the yard for downed trees and other outdoor losses, like damage to fences, sheds, yard barns, vehicles or mowers.
If you find that damage has occurred as a result of the storm, contact your insurance agent for next steps. SERVPRO can help quickly with any storm damage situation and will work with your insurance company through the restoration process.
Mother Nature can have a mind of her own, but there are some things you can do to limit the amount of damage your property receives from a storm.
- Secure outside items.
- If you know a storm may occur, devoting a few minutes to securing outdoor property can go a long way in keeping those items safe, and preventing them from causing damage to other property. Trampolines, grills, trash cans, canopies/awnings and play equipment are all items that should be secured or brought inside, if possible. Store vehicles inside a garage or under a covered space, if available.
- Maintain your home and yard.
- Roof damage is quite common after storms, as they take a beating from wind, hail and snow/ice pack. Making sure your roof is up to par before the next storm will decrease the likelihood of damage. Trimming trees and bushes is also good preventative maintenance, not just for the health of the plants, but in preventing weakened limbs and brush from coming down on your property during a gusty storm.
The time it takes to fix flood damage depends on the severity of the flood. We’ll inspect your home or business and discuss with you the severity of damage and our plan to help return your property back to pre-loss condition. We’ll then work to remove the water that shouldn’t be there using pumps and water extracting equipment. Once the excess water is gone, we use dehumidifiers and other specialized drying equipment to help return the area to its normal moisture level. This is a closely monitored process, with our teams continually making adjustments to equipment to help ensure the area is recovering as quickly and as safely possible.
Always listen to authorities in the weeks and days leading up to a hurricane and follow any orders for evacuation. If you are staying in your home during the storm, the CDC recommends these preparations:
- Plan ahead by knowing where nearby shelters are located, the different routes to get there and if they allow pets, if you have a furry friend. Also have emergency phone numbers readily retrievable.
- Prepare an emergency supply kit that includes food and water, medicines, flashlights, safety items, a fire extinguisher and any important documents.
- Have your vehicle filled with fuel, and an emergency kit inside. Move vehicles into your garage or under cover.
- Listen to the radio, a weather radio or TV for updates on the hurricane.
- Stay inside the house and away from windows, and be ready to evacuate at any time.
Preparing your home or business for a hurricane can help protect it from damage during the storm.
- Engage storm shutters if you have them, or otherwise cover windows and doors with plywood.
- Inspect your roof and repair any loose shingles.
- Clean your yard and trim any damaged trees or branches. Remove any fully grown trees that could come into contact with your home if they fall.
- Be sure to secure outdoor items like trash cans, trampolines, grills, canopies/awnings, playsets and outdoor toys.
- If there is flooding, downed power lines or you have to evacuate, the CDC recommends switching all power off.