Cleaning Up Your Home after a Flood

Cleaning Up Your Home after a Flood

Home Flood DamageFlooding can be devastating and can cause a lot of damage to a home. Whether flooding is caused by storms, ground water problems, or a broken pipe, it is important to clean and restore the home as quickly as possible after the flood in order to minimize mold damage and make the home safe for inhabitants. If your home has been flooded, take the following actions.

Turn Off Electricity and Water

Turning off the home’s main power supply can protect you and anyone else that will be entering the home. Turning off the water may prevent any further water damage from occurring, especially if the issue began with the home’s plumbing. If it is suspected that there may have been damage to the electrical lines, water lines, or any other utilities, contact the utility companies before entering the home to prevent injury.

Remove Items and Appliances

After the home is safe to enter, removing items and appliances that have not been touched by flood waters can help to minimize the amount of cleaning and restoration needed. Preventing items from getting wet or damaged will mitigate the costs associated with repairs and replacements. These items should be stored in a safe, dry place until the home has been completely cleaned.

Take the Water Out

As long as water is standing in a home, it is increasing the risks for mold and structural damage. Using a wet vacuum, buckets, mops, and towels to remove the water may take time, but must be done to begin restoring the home. If flooding is severe, renting a sump pump may help you to get the water out.

Dry the Area

After water has been removed, the area that was flooded still needs to be dried completely. Fans and a dehumidifier can help to dry the floors. Carpet and other types of flooring may need to be replaced if they have been saturated or damaged, as there may still be a mold risk. If drywall has been saturated by water, it may need to be cut away and replaced, as the integrity of the structure will be compromised and the paper backing will likely grow mold.

Disinfect the Flooded Area

Disinfecting the area is necessary to ensure the safety of home inhabitants. Cleaning with bleach will help to kill bacteria that may have spread from sewers or flood waters. Walls, floors, furnishings, and anything else that may have been touched by flood waters should all be disinfected.

Call a Restoration Service

A restoration service can help with salvaging items that you may have thought were damaged beyond repair which can save money and heartache. A restoration service can also help with removing and replacing damaged drywall and other structures. A restoration service can help you to ensure that your home is safe and free from mold and water damage after a flood.

If your home has been flooded, call Florida Catastrophe Corp. today to minimize damage and get your home back in order quickly.

Hurricane Restoration Tips

Hurricane Restoration TipsIn the aftermath of a hurricane, expediting recovery can help to get you and your family back in your home faster and reduce the amount of damage. It is important to follow certain steps, however. If you have been affected by Hurricane Matthew, the following tips may be helpful.

Make a List of Damages

It can be tempting to just dive in and start throwing things away and cleaning up when returning home or venturing into your yard after a hurricane, but this can hurt your chances of receiving adequate benefits from your homeowners insurance. Make a list of everything that was damaged, being as thorough as possible with descriptions and valuations. Take pictures and provide serial numbers and receipts if you can. Smartphone apps may help with inventorying.

Wait Until an Adjuster Visits to Make Changes

Even after you have finished making a list of all damaged belongings, structures, and landscaping, try to refrain from cleaning up unless the law dictates that you must. Allowing an insurance adjuster to see exactly what damages look like can help to ensure that any claims that you make go through. If you must discard belongings or if conditions are dangerous, take pictures of damages to show the insurance company and keep receipts from any materials purchased for the recovery efforts.

Call Restoration Specialists

Restoration specialists will be able to help you assess the damage and get your home back in order faster. Restorations specialists can help clean up debris from the hurricane so that you can safely enter the home and walk around the property. If demolition needs to be done, restoration specialists can help to with safe and careful demolition. They can also assist with all aspects of restoration.

Prevent Further Damage

Boarding up windows until they can be replaced, covering holes in the ceiling, and sealing leaks can help to prevent damage from worsening as you work to recover from the hurricane. Removing downed limbs and trees can also help to keep this loose debris from flying into the home and causing damage if winds pick up again. Cleaning up water as soon as possible can help to mitigate the damage to the home.

Dry and Disinfect the Home

After water has been removed from the home, there is still a potential for mold to form. Mold restoration specialists may be very helpful in assessing the potential for mold growth after a hurricane, removing items and structures that have been contaminated, and cleaning and disinfecting the home. This is important to ensure that the home will be safe over the long term and to salvage as many belongings as possible.

If you have been affected by Hurricane Matthew, call 855-352-2281to find out how we can help with restoration and recovery.

Tropical Depression 9 Is Heading Toward Florida

Florida Depression 9If you’re in Florida, it’s important to know that a tropical depression is brewing in the Caribbean and weather scientists predict that Florida will be meeting it first-hand this week. As of early morning on Monday, August 29, 2016, the system’s center was located roughly 160 miles west-southwest of Key West, Florida. Experts believe that Florida may be experiencing a tropical storm late Monday or early Tuesday.

Through Wednesday, the depression may bring 3 to 5 inches of rain through the southern area of the Florida peninsula and Florida Keys. Governor Rick Scott has urged South Florida residents to develop an emergency plan in case the area experiences flooding.

Ohio’s Weekend Flooding

Over the weekend, southwestern Ohio was struck with flash flooding that brought three inches of rain in as little as a few hours. Some areas of the city received 8 inches of rain, triggering a number of traffic jams, school closures, and property damage. According to The Weather Channel, flooding even led to closure of certain areas of the highway.

How Can I Prepare?

Luckily, weather reports describe the depression as “poorly organized,” which is good news for Floridians. However, it’s important to make sure that you’re prepared in case the worst of the predictions becomes reality. In many ways, preparing for a tropical storm can be similar to preparing for a hurricane, though fortunately, wind damage is less of a threat.

Here are some considerations for preparing your home this week:

  • If you’re in low-lying areas, consider getting sand bags to help absorb water.
  • Sign up for emergency alerts through your county.
  • Prepare to evacuate if you live in a mobile or manufactured home, or if you live in a flood zone.
  • Make sure your emergency kit is stocked with items like clean drinking water and non-perishable food items.
  • Trim your home’s shrubbery and trees, and make sure that downspouts and rain gutters are cleared.

We urge you and your family to stay safe and prepared as we enter hurricane season in full force!

What You Should Know about Flooding

Flooding FactsFlooding can be caused by a variety of different things, including burst pipes, hurricanes, dam failures, and high tides in coastal areas. It is important to understand that flooding can happen basically anywhere, no home is completely immune to flooding, even if it is uncommon for the area. If the area is prone to flooding, it is even more important to understand a few facts about the phenomenon so that you are better prepared.

Flooding Is Not Always Covered by Insurance

Flood insurance is not always included in homeowners’ insurance policies, particularly in areas where flood risks are highest. If your home is damaged by flooding, this oversight can be costly. Short circuiting by damaged wires and structural damage can put the integrity of the building at risk and make the home unsafe for inhabitants.

Water Damage Should Be Immediately Repaired

Without immediate repair, water damage can lead to serious structural damage and can cause health problems for inhabitants. The longer wood or drywall is allowed to sit with water damage, the more warp and rot is likely to occur. Mold may also form in the moist environment and cause mild to severe health issues. Contacting restoration services immediately after flooding occurs may save the building, mitigate the costs of repairs, and help to avoid these issues.

Flood Proofing Techniques May Protect the Home

In areas that are prone to flooding, it may be wise to take precautions to flood proof the home. Installing plastic sheeting over the foundation can help to keep water out. Sloping the land around the home can help to drain water away, as well. In some cases, it may also be helpful to devise a system to allow some water into the home in such a way that it is dispersed without causing damage. The roof, windows, doors, and other seals should be checked for security.

Restoration Services Can Help Salvage Furnishings

After a flood, it may seem that all furnishings are ruined, which can be overwhelming. Instead of throwing precious heirlooms and favorite furniture away, contact restoration services to find out if items can be salvaged. In some cases, restoration companies may be able to use special techniques to dry items. This can save money on recovery and help you to salvage pieces that had emotional value to the family.

To find out more about how to prepare for a flood or for help with restoration after a flood, contact Florida Catastrophe Corp. today.

6 Steps For Creating Your Family Disaster Plan

Family Disaster PlanDisaster can strike at anytime and the most severe of tragedies have no warning whatsoever. Are you and your family prepared for an emergency? What plans do you have in place to ensure your safety and potential evacuation? Go over our family disaster plan steps to make sure you’ve included them in your own family plan.

1. What Kind of Disasters Can Happen Where You Live?

Begin with assessing what types of disasters are most likely to happen in your area. Your local Red Cross is a great resource for providing you with what types of disasters occur and what plans your community has in place. Find out the various warning systems for each disaster type your city utilizes.

2. Disaster Plans for Work and School

Disasters will never happen at a convenient time, which may place your family members at different locations. Discover the disaster plans for your work, your partner’s job, your children’s school, and any other places your family members may be when tragedy strikes. Adapt your family plan to their’s so everyone is accounted for when you’re separated.

3. Evacuation Plans

For home tragedies, go over the various types of evacuation plans with family members. Make sure everyone knows how to reach exit and meet-up points from each room. Some emergencies will require you to leave the home and meet each other outdoors while other strategies may be to go to a specific location in your home.

4. Emergency Contact List

Create a list of emergency contacts for your family and equip each member with a physical copy to keep with them at all times. On these lists include standard emergency numbers, contact information of friends and family, as well as any pertinent medical information and insurance details. Let family members and friends know that they are your emergency resources and provide those individuals with your list as well.

5. Fresh Emergency Supplies and Batteries

Keep your home stocked with emergency supplies. Make sure you have three days of water and food that won’t spoil. Keep a first-aid kit, flashlight, radio, and extra batteries where they can be easily accessed. If you can, duplicate any of this in or near your automobile in case you have to evacuate.

6. Practice Makes Perfect

At the end of the day practicing your emergency plan is what’s going to keep your family safe. Conducting emergency drills and quizzing your children will help keep everyone current with what to do in case of an emergency. Making the time to update your emergency contact information and plans will save your family’s lives.

Contact Florida Catastrophe so we can help you through any disaster emergency.

5 Tips for Storm-Proofing Your Home

Storm-Proof HomeWhen it is sunny, there isn’t a place in the world that can beat Florida, but during a storm, the weather here is severe. Most of Florida averaged well over 50 inches of rain last year with quite a few areas averaging over 70 inches. That is Mother Nature’s way of telling you she will bring severe storms to Florida no matter what time of year it is.

Keeping Your Home Safe

Don’t be fooled by Florida’s “Sunshine State” motto — we average more than 100 days of the year with thunderstorms. No matter how much notice a meteorologist can give you, moving your home is not an option. You can protect your house against severe weather, keeping your family, your valuables, and your home safe.

Here are some ways you can safeguard your home from severe weather:

  • Window protection
  • Keeping your roof attached
  • Landscaping
  • Reinforcing your doors
  • Keeping your house high and dry

Protecting Your Windows

Your home’s most vulnerable and beautiful asset is your windows. Installing shutters may be an aesthetically pleasing option for you to consider that allows protection and keeps the elements outside where they belong. There is also impact-resistant glass available to you. If windows shatter, more than just property could be hurt or damaged.

Keeping Your Roof over Your Head

Severe wind and heavy rainfall will take years off of your roof shingles or just take your roof off. It is important to remember that you can add more bracing to your roof through the attic of your home for reinforcement. One option many Floridians have decided with is going with a metal roof. It is an incredibly low-maintenance option that has an expected service life of 40 years.

Lawn Maintenance Will Make a Difference

Keeping your lawn well-manicured will make a difference when severe weather strikes. Making sure all of your tree’s branches are far from your roof and power lines will eliminate severe hazards and costly damage. Hedging and bushes could also cause potential problems, so keep in mind that you may want any and all foliage away from windows, entry ways, and any other locations where they could cause damage or obstruct access.

Keeping Your Door on Its Hinges

Don’t let your door be the last thing you think of in severe weather. Check the weather stripping around your door to prevent leaks from heavy rain and strong winds. Make sure that your door’s hinges are securely attached to their frame and that the deadbolt works, as weather could potentially be strong enough to blow the door open. If your doors are older, you may want to consider reinforcing the frame with weather-treated wood.

If the Water Does Rise

Flooding is an expensive and real hazard all across Florida, but you do have options to keep your home dry. If you can’t afford to raise your home so that the bottom level is above the flood plane, you can have floodwalls and berms built to fend off rising water. You will also want to seal every part of your home tight with waterproofing composites and rubber sheeting to keep it dry.

You’re not alone if your home has taken a beating from severe weather. Contact Florida Catastrophe today and we will help you bounce back from disaster.

4 Tips for Protecting your Building from Flooding

Protect FloodOf all of the types of natural disasters, floods can be the most potentially devastating to a home or business. The most optimal solution to avoiding flood damage is to ensure that the house is built in such a way that water flows down from it rather than pooling up around it. However, for most people, simply moving their house to a more elevated area is not an option. There are several other steps that may be taken to reduce the risk of flooding and water damage to your home. While some of these tips may require a lot of effort, money, or time, many of these tips are simple solutions that anyone can do to reduce the risk of flood damage to their building.

1. Measure Flood Levels Around Your Home

By analyzing the levels of water around your home during an average rain storm, it is easy to determine whether or not your building is at risk for flood damage. You can also determine the way in which water flows around the building to see if water is likely reach places where it will cause damage.

Possible warning signs that a building is at risk of flood damage may include:

  • Pools of standing water that remain after a storm has stopped
  • Backed up sewers during storms
  • Water marks or swells on the walls or baseboards of the building
  • Mold
  • Low elevation in relation to surrounding areas

2. Install Special Valves to Regulate Water Flow

Services like FEMA and FLASH recommend specialized valves to redirect water in the event of a flood. By installing a backflow valve, you can avoid filling your home with water and sewage in the event that the sewer system becomes backed up.

3. Add Modifications to your Home

This option can be expensive depending upon the types of modifications you choose to make. A common way of preventing flood damage in high-risk areas is raising the house on stilts so that water can pass under it. Certain drains can be installed to redirect the flow of water through the house so that the water levels do not rise up to the house. Finally, as a cheaper option, many people opt to apply a dry coating to certain high-risk walls or areas of the home. This will minimize damage to these areas in the event of a flood.

4. Protect Sensitive Equipment

Certain electrical and heating equipment are typically situated in locations that would be prone to water exposure in the event of a flood. By raising equipment like circuit breakers and furnaces out of a potential flooding zone, you can save thousands of dollars in damages in the event that the home is flooded. The same actions should be taken to protect gas lines, fuel tanks, and generators.

If you have concerns about floods in your area and are looking to safeguard your home, call or stop by Florida Catastrophe. The experts at FLA-CAT have been handling emergencies repairs from incidents such as floods for years. They will help you assess the risks that flooding poses to your building and help you find the appropriate measures to take to ensure that your property is protected.

Do You Live Near the Beach? Plan Ahead for Risks

Beach Risks

For many Americans, living by the beach is the embodiment of the American dream. When people fantasize about living by the beach, they think of the tranquil sound of waves rhythmically lapping at the shore, gulls floating overhead, and a profound sense of peace. While the beach does bring with it a sense of peace and serenity, it is easy for romanticized notions to eclipse the considerations and dangers of living by the beach. In order to fully enjoy your tranquil oasis, it is important to be aware of possible dangers and how to minimize beach risks to you and your family.

Flooding

In states like Florida, severe storms and choppy seas are a regular occurrence. Anytime houses are built near the water, proper precautions must be taken to avoid flood damage. Sometimes this can include raising up the house which can sometimes reduce stability. In addition to being a risk to the actual house, flooding can also cut you and your family off from supplies so it is essential to always keep spare emergency supplies in a safe place. It can also be a good idea to have a boat or a raft to use in the event of the need to evacuate.

Some have suggested that rising sea levels will soon become a problem that seaside residents will have to begin dealing with. Depending on your region, tidal waves and tsunamis can also damage your home and cause problems for your family.

Lightning

Some cities in Florida are considered lightning strike capitals of the world. The violent thunderstorms that can occur during the summer months and in the rest of hurricane season can often cause injury and property damage. One of the biggest risks associated with lightning besides risk of injury is risk of fire. Storms are often very powerful near warm-water beaches and can generate violent lightning. Even though the home is surrounded by water, fires resulting from lightning strikes are a very real danger.

Hurricanes

The state of Florida is no stranger to hurricanes. Florida is often almost always hit by major hurricanes during the season. Hurricanes are usually stronger when coming off of the warm waters near the coast. This can make beachfront property seem much less attractive when considering the scale of damage done as the result of hurricanes like Katrina and Andrew. These storms can produce strong enough winds and rain to break windows, blow debris, and even erode the foundations of the house. It is important to take proper precautions to prepare for hurricanes and to be aware of evacuation routes.

If you live near the beach and are interested in options for protecting or restoring your home, don’t hesitate to call Florida Catastrophe. At Fla-Cat, we have all the experience and equipment needed to service any of your beach risks and disaster needs.

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