How To Prepare Your Business for Severe Weather
SERVPRO crews are working to clean up damage at the field house in Colbert Heights.
Unpredictability is sometimes the only predictable thing about the weather in North Alabama. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prepare your business for severe weather threats such as flooding from powerful storms or tornadoes.
During high winds and torrential downpours, storm damage to the exterior of your commercial property may be unavoidable. Take the following steps to minimize potential damage:
- Clear all drains and gutters from debris to allow for heavy rainfall to flow freely.
- Prune bushes and trees near the building.
- Ensure that lightning rods, if applicable, are maintained.
- Make sure the power generator is fueled or charged and is operational.
- Bring in or secure all loose objects near the building or on the roof.
- Board up glass windows.
- Place sandbags in front of ground floor doorways or secure plastic sheeting with duct tape.
Take measures to protect building contents from flood damage. When flooding is anticipated, prepare the inside of the property in the following ways:
- Move all important inventory and documents away from windows.
- When possible, move furniture and equipment to a higher floor of the building. Remove papers housed in the bottom drawer of ground level file cabinets.
- Box up loose papers and small objects and remove items from walls.
- Unplug, wrap and store electronics off of the ground. Before moving, back up computer data.
- When you leave the building, take insurance paperwork and crucial records with you. Lock the doors, close the windows and turn off power, gas and water.
When a severe weather event approaches in Florence, AL, your first priority is ensuring the safety of your employees and yourself. Then take the above steps to protect the exterior and interior of your commercial property from flooding and high winds. In the aftermath of the storm, make sure it is safe before returning to the property. If flood damage or storm damage is evident, it's smart to contact your insurance agent and a storm restoration specialist as soon as possible.
Types of Storm Damage
Here in the Florence/Muscle Shoals area, we can suffer from many types of storm damage. Some of those are wind damage, flood damage, and hail damage. Here are a few quick tips to consider should storm damage hit your home or commercial property.
Wind Damage Restoration
Storms often cause severe wind damage. Your roof is particularly susceptible. Roof damage from strong winds may lift roof shingles, cause cracks, or remove part or all of the roof. Harsh winds and rains can shear away asphalt tiles. Flying debris can also cause cracks and holes in your roof and siding. Correcting roof damage may challenge homeowners and business owners after a disaster, especially because a roof leak may not be obvious.
Why are many roof leaks and roof damage hard to detect? The storm may loosen flashing without creating a problem that’s easily visible to the eye. Loose flashing can cause another roof leak even weeks after the initial storm damage. A small roof leak can produce damp, moldy conditions inside your home or business. You best bet is to secure roof repair immediately after the wind damage. Doing so can prevent long term interior damage.
Flood Damage & Recovery
If your home or business is near water or in a low-lying area, flood water damage is a risk. Heavy rains and flooding may cause water damage many miles from the coast or from any large body of water. If the land around your home or business cannot absorb the additional water flooding may happen. Even homes and businesses at higher elevations can sustain flood damage if frozen pipes break. Flood pump failures contribute to basement flooding and contaminated ground water in some locations, too.
Flooding may also disrupt your municipal water system. Experts need to assess ground water and evaluate the condition of pipes following flood damage. Hiring a storm restoration firm, like SERVPRO of the Quad Cities may allow you to begin your cleanup process even before water restoration occurs.
By relying upon a trained water damage restoration specialist, you'll usually obtain faster storm remediation. These experts may suggest ways to help mitigate flood water damage in the future, for instance, by requesting backup flood pump installation.
Hail Damage & Recovery
Hail may be the most overlooked cause of major storm damage. Hail can damage not just your roof but also your siding, exterior walls, and any detached sheds or outbuildings. You may think you’ve survived a hail storm but do know that hail damage is difficult to identify. Again, you’re wise to hire a storm damage restoration professional to inspect your roof, exterior walls, and outbuildings for damage. Dark spots on your roof are areas where the roofing granules have been knocked away. These weakened spots can lead to other more extensive problems such as leaks and cracks. Cracked and chipped siding is also a sign of hail damage.
Impact Damage & Recovery
In a major storm practically anything can become a creator of damage to your home or business. Think about trees. Your home may survive storm damage only to have a tree on your property succumb to the wind, hail, or rain and fall onto your house. A neighbor’s outdoor lawn furniture can become wind-blown projectiles. Extreme wind pressure turns regular outdoor items into tools of destruction.
Are you aware that during a hail storm more than just your vehicles are potentially vulnerable to damage and future repairs? When hail hits, it can damage the roof or covering of your home as well as other personal property. Although hailstorms can be destructive, the amount of damage can vary greatly. Following are some factors that affect the type and degree of damage that may be impacted by a hailstorm, as well as a guide on how to identify hail damage to different types of shingles and roofing materials.
- Wind – During a hailstorm, wind direction and wind speed can vary. Changes in wind conditions can affect the location and severity of hail impacts.
- Size and density – The size of the hailstones can affect the degree of damage, if any, to your property. A hailstone can be as small as a pea, or as large as a softball. Most hailstones do not have smooth edges, which can impact the type of damage they cause.
- Building materials – Building materials absorb hail impacts differently. For example, hail can cause dings in aluminum siding, gutters or asphalt shingles, whereas it can crack vinyl siding or wood shakes. Alternatively, softball-sized hailstones can be dense enough and strong enough to puncture a roof. Additionally, the age and condition of a roof could affect the degree of damage.
- Barriers– The position of neighboring structures and natural barriers, like tree cover, landscaping, fences or adjacent homes can reduce the ability of hail to cause damage.
There are many other types of damage to shingles that can be mistaken for hail damage. For example, exposure to inclement weather and sunlight makes shingles brittle and gives them an aged appearance. This type of damage is normal wear and tear of shingles, which is sometimes misidentified as hail damage. Other types of normal wear and tear may include blistering, cracking, granule loss, flaking and algae. Manufacturing defects and mechanical imperfections in shingles can also be mistaken for hail damage.
If you believe your home has sustained damage from hail, call your agent or insurance representative to discuss possible next steps.
The Trouble With DIY Water Restoration
Florence and Muscle Shoals residents take pride in their homes and properties. When disaster strikes or when you have a substantial mess to clean up, it is a common belief to roll up your sleeves and get to work to fix the problem as best as you can on your own. The trouble with DIY restoration for water incidents is that many homeowners don't get all of the problem addressed, allowing for continued damage.
While a homeowner might see a water damage situation in their Florence residence as little more than a reason to break out the mop and run some fans, there is much more to water damage restoration. Ensuring that the area gets thoroughly dried requires specialized equipment and detection tools. Failure to get your home below moisture standards for a house can lead to worsening conditions that pose a threat to the structure, as well as your family.
One of the reasons that you might consider professional restoration like SERVPRO provides is our ability to respond to your situation rapidly. Even in smaller scale water incidents, fast response time is critical to mitigating loss and to get to work quickly on removing the water and drying up the affected areas.
Another reason that a homeowner should think about our SERVPRO team is our industry-leading equipment, expertise, and unique training. These facts help us quickly assess the full scope of the damage that affects your home and choose the most efficient and practical approach to eliminating the moisture and preserving the construction materials that have gotten saturated by the incident.
As much as you might be among the homeowners that seek to do things for themselves when something happens to their home, situations like water damages require professionals with the right training and equipment to ensure that the job gets done adequately. Our SERVPRO of the Quad Cities water damage technicians are available 24/7 for any need you might have by calling (256)383-4470.
Water Damage – What does homeowners insurance typically cover?
Water damage claims are quite common in the insurance world. However, not all types of water damage are covered under every Alabama homeowner’s insurance policy. Below, we have listed some information about general coverage under a typical homeowner’s insurance policy.
Burst Pipes and Leaks – Typically Covered
Water damage from pipes is usually covered. This is why homes that have updated plumbing systems will typically have lower insurance premiums. However, if you didn’t take precautions to prevent the problem your claim may be denied. An example of this would be a pipe freezes and bursts because you left your home unheated.
Water Damage From Appliances – Typically Covered
Sudden leaking from an appliance that is not due to improper upkeep is typically covered under your homeowners insurance.
Roof Leaks – Typically Covered
When water leaks through your roof the damage to your home is usually covered as well as damage to your belongings. The roof repairs will be covered if an external factor like hail or a fallen tree caused the roof leak. If it is a maintenance issue that led to the leak you will likely have to cover the roof repairs yourself.
Flood Damage – Not Covered
Floods are rare, but when they do occur they can cause significant damage and even destroy a home entirely in a matter of minutes. Flood insurance is not typically a part of regular home insurance policy. If you live in a floodplain or want the additional coverage you will have to get a flood insurance policy in addition to your homeowners insurance.
Backed Up Drain or Sewer Line – Not Covered
Damage from a backed up sewer line or drain, is not covered on standard home insurance policies. However, you can add this coverage on with an endorsement. It will be an additional cost, but it provides additional coverage.
Ground Water Seepage – Not Covered
When water floods into a basement or causes foundation problems because of seepage from ground water this is considered a maintenance issue not an accident. Therefore, most insurance companies don’t include seepage in their policies.
Mold – Possibly Covered
Mold is often a result of water damage, and it can begin to develop within a few days. If mold is caused by a type of water damage that is covered by your insurance policy, then mold removal may be covered as well. Like sewer line and backed up drains, you can also get additional coverage specifically for mold remediation added on to your policy so you’re covered anytime it occurs.
Again, each person’s insurance policy is different. It’s important that you carefully review your policy to understand what water damage is covered. For professional water damage cleanup, contact SERVPRO of the Quad Cities today at 256-383-4470!
How to Donate & Volunteer to Help Hurricane Florence Victims
When disaster strikes, people come together to help. To make the most of your contributions, consider these tips from FEMA for donating and volunteering responsibly:
How to Donate Successfully:
1. Provide a financial contribution to a voluntary organization involved in disaster activities.
2. Find out what services state government is providing via Website or state donations hotline.
3. Do not begin collecting, packing or shipping until or unless you have a known recipient to accept it.
How to Volunteer Successfully:
1. Get training before the next disaster.
2. Connect and affiliate with a voluntary organization.
3. Consider volunteering for the long-term community recovery.
4. Check with your local Volunteer Center for volunteer opportunities in your own community ( 1-800-Volunteer).
5. Plan to be as self-sufficient as possible (go to www.ready.gov for assistance in developing your plan).
For more information, click here.
Lunch & Learn With SERVPRO!
Do you work for a real estate office or insurance agency? Are you part of a company that could benefit from having a quick knowledge of restoration and commercial cleaning options for your clients?
We can offer you and your coworkers a great opportunity for to learn all of SERVPRO's services that are relevant to you and your industry.
But wait...why not do it over coffee and donuts? Or maybe lunch? Or fresh, homemade cookies?
Are we getting your attention yet?
Our SERVPRO marketing representatives would love to chat with you and your coworkers and let you know about all that SERVPRO of the Quad Cites has to offer you. Whether you find yourself dealing with a disaster situation or you just need to have some general cleaning or mold testing done, we want you to know that SERVPRO is here to help.
There is no cost for a Lunch & Learn, just give us a call and make an appointment and our marketing representatives will come to you! It is only approximately 15-30 minutes in duration, and participants are free to ask questions and chat as long as is needed.
If you are interested in setting up a SERVPRO Lunch & Learn for you and your coworkers, call us and we will schedule a date and time that works best for you! All you'll have to do is be present and hungry to eat good food and learn a little more about how SERVPRO of the Quad Cities can help with your cleaning and restoration needs.
Water Leaks Can Cause Mold
Mold grows on basement wall of a home in Muscle Shoals.
Water Leaks Can Cause Mold
A leaky faucet in your home can be very annoying, but it has the potential to be much more than an annoyance. The moisture caused by leaks can make your home into the perfect environment for mold growth. Mold spores may cause adverse health effects and can grow rapidly if you fail to notice a leak shortly after it starts, especially in humid climates like we have here in Florence. Knowing the risks that mold presents and quickly fixing your water leaks can help to protect your home from mold growth.
About Mold Growth
Mold growth will begin in areas of your home that are wet. The mold spores will land on moist surfaces and then start to germinate. The materials on which mold can grow include:
• Painted surfaces
Indications of Mold Growth Due to Water Leaks
If you see black and white spots in the area of the leak, this is a sign that you have mold. Kitchens and basements are some of the areas in your home where there is a high risk of mold growth as these areas are prone to leaks. It is therefore important that you properly maintain your plumbing fixtures.
Get Professional Assistance
If there is a part of your home that is prone to water leaks, contact a plumber. If there are hidden problems that are causing leaks to recur, you may not be able to find them yourself. A licensed plumber who is experienced at finding and fixing leaks will be better able to find and fix the issues. Your plumber will also be able to advise you on how to maintain your plumbing to prevent water leaks and mold growth in the future.
Inspecting a Commercial Building for Mold
No commercial building in Florence is completely immune from developing a mold problem. Mold can occur any time there is excess dampness or condensation inside a facility. If you’re unsure whether there is mold at your commercial property, an indoor environmental specialist can perform a mold test so you can try to catch it early.
First, here are a few questions to consider:
1. Has there been any recent water damage? Moisture is the primary source of mold, so whether it’s a leaky roof or the effects of flooding, any kind of water inside your commercial facility can lead to mold growth.
2. Are the air ducts cleaned regularly? HVAC and other ventilation systems are commonly known to carry mold, so it’s important to find out when they were last cleaned.
3. Is there a strong odor in the building? Sometimes a musty smell means there is mold present. If your employees report an unpleasant odor, it could be the presence of black mold, which is often smelled before it is seen.
Mold can hide in many places indoors, such as under carpet, inside walls and paneling, and in piping and insulation. It has also been found behind wallpaper, but it’s important to be cautious about investigating it without an indoor environmental specialist present; once exposed, mold spores can spread easily. It only takes two to three days for mold to grow indoors. If you do suspect a mold outbreak at your commercial facility, stay away from suspected areas until experts can come and perform the necessary tests.
If mold breaks out, but goes undetected for a long time, it can cause more damage. That could disrupt your operations and impact you financially. If your building has suffered any water damage, watch for mold signs. The sooner it’s discovered, the sooner an indoor environmental specialist can come in to clean it up.
Hurricane Florence Stats & How You Can Help
Our Key Accounts Manager, Bubba Roby, spoke with WAFF 48 News about storm cleanup for Hurricane Florence.
Hurricane Florence is likely to cause significant flooding and wind destruction in the Carolinas and Virginia. There is also high risk of inland flooding in NC, SC and VA due to Hurricane Florence slowly moving through the weekend. Over 3 feet of rain is possible in some locations.
In addition to the 90 local Franchises in the Hurricane Florence affected areas, SERVPRO also has a national network of over 1,700 Franchises across the country. Franchises like ours are preparing to send crews to help with cleanup efforts. Our sister franchises in Huntsville, SERVPRO of South Madison County and SERVPRO of North Madison County, are also sending crews. Here are some facts that show the power of this monster of a hurricane:
- The tropical storm-force winds stretch more than 335 miles, which is far enough to reach from New York to nearly Toronto.
- The hurricane-force winds extend 80 miles from the center of the storm and cover more than 15,000 square miles, an area larger than Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island combined.
- The size of the hurricane-force winds has doubled over the past 48 hours despite the top wind speed weakening from 130 mph to 105 mph.
- Rainfall could reach 40 inches in isolated locations of coastal North Carolina. For comparison, Washington, D.C., averages 40 inches of rain in an entire year.
- Wilmington, North Carolina, has already had its rainiest year to date and could get eight months' worth of rain in the next three days. The rainfall would shatter all-time records for the region.
As the rest of the country watches the East Coast prep for Hurricane Florence, you may be wondering if there's anything you can do to help. Volunteer fire departments in the Shoals are collecting donations for hurricane victims. Donations can be dropped off at the Lexington VFD or the Nitrate City VFD. You can also make a donation.
You Can Help By Making a Donation Today!
The American Red Cross is working around the clock along the East Coast to help the thousands of people whose lives have been affected by Hurricane Florence.
Click HERE to make a donation.