Hurricane Restoration Tips

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.

Hurricane Matthew Approaching Florida

Hurricane FactsA hurricane watch was issued Tuesday afternoon for parts of Florida on the Atlantic coast. As of that time, Hurricane Matthew was a category 4 hurricane with winds up to 145 miles per hour. The dangerous hurricane had already been inflicting damage across the Caribbean, with at least seven fatalities and untold damage to homes and landscapes.

The hurricane is not expected to hit Florida for at least 48 hours, so officials are urging Floridians to prepare now while there is still time.

Hurricane Matthew in Haiti

Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti hard on Tuesday morning, damaging many homes and uprooting trees in the area. One fisherman was killed and many of the shacks that serve as homes in the impoverished area were destroyed. The total damage has not been assessed yet, but many streets were flooded and residents were left seeking shelter as of Tuesday afternoon.

Storm Trajectory

The storm was moving north at about 10 miles per hour as of 11am on Tuesday morning. The storm was moving through Haiti and was expected to move through Cuba late Tuesday and early Wednesday. Computer models predict that the center of the storm will stay off the coast of Florida, but if the storm veers inland it could hit hard.

Florida is expected to experience the effects of the storm throughout the day on Thursday and into Friday. Hurricane Matthew could continue its path up the coast after that. As of Tuesday afternoon, there was a Hurricane watch in effect for the coastal area running from Deerfield Beach to the Volusia County line in central Florida. There was also a Tropical Storm watch in effect for the Florida Keys.

Government Addresses the Storm

Governor Rick Scott visited the city of Marathon to talk about the storm preparations on Tuesday morning. The governor said that there are 200 National Guard members standing by to help and another 6,600 guardsmen that can be deployed if necessary. Pat McCrory, the North Carolina Governor, declared a state of emergency for certain parts of the state that fall within the storms possible trajectory.

Additionally, President Obama has cancelled plans to visit South Florida on behalf of Hillary Clinton on Wednesday. A presidential visit would tie up law enforcement and lead to road closings that could affect the storm preparations. Non-essential personnel have already been evacuated from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in response to the storm.

Preparing for the Storm

Governor Rick Scott urged residents to evacuate the area early, before the highways become too congested. With the storm being listed as a category 4, with winds about 145 miles per hour and flooding potential, the storm could cause major damage even if it does not make landfall.

Some actions that you can take to prepare for the storm include:

  • Gathering emergency supplies such as water and non-perishable foods
  • Boarding windows to protect the home
  • Staying tuned to emergency alerts in the area
  • Preparing a bag with necessities to take if evacuation is necessary

While it can be tempting to stick around to protect your home, remember that restoration is always possible later. The most important thing is to stay safe.

What You should Know About Hurricanes

Hurricane FactsWhile hurricanes can occur at any time of year, they are more likely during hurricane season. It’s currently hurricane season in the Northern hemisphere; most hurricanes occur between June 1 and November 30. The following are a few things that you should know about hurricanes to best protect your loved ones and your property.

How Do Hurricanes Form?

Hurricanes, also referred to as “tropical cyclones,” form over the Atlantic Ocean or the eastern Pacific Ocean. They only form over warm water near the equator, because the warm, moist air essentially acts as fuel. The air rises upward, leaving less air and lower air pressure near the water’s surface. The surrounding higher-pressure air then pushes into the low-pressure area, which then becomes warm and rises as well. When the air rises and becomes cooler, the condensation forms clouds. This creates a system of winds and clouds that continues to spin and grow.

How Are Hurricanes Classified?

Hurricanes are classified using the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale, which features 5 categories:

  • Category 1: 74 to 95 mile per hour winds
  • Category 2: 96 to 110 mile per hour winds
  • Category 3: 111 to 130 mile per hour winds
  • Category 4: 131 to 155 mile per hour winds
  • Category 5: winds greater than 155 miles per hour

What Are the Risks of Hurricanes?

As any Floridian will tell you, hurricanes can be serious business. They’re known to cause devastating damage to coastlines as well as hundreds of miles inland. In extreme cases, winds can reach more than 155 miles per hour, and can create tornadoes and coastal storm surges. In addition to wind damage, hurricanes can create torrential rainfall with deadly floods and flash-floods.

What Should I Do After a Hurricane?

Those who have lived through a high-category hurricane will attest to the devastating damage that can occur. Especially for coastal towns, it’s possible for entire homes to be destroyed, leaving families with nothing. In cases of less catastrophic damage, homes can experience water damage from flooding, structural damage, and the like. In cases like these, it’s important to have a disaster recovery plan in place, as well as seek assistance from a professional disaster recovery provider.

It’s always best to stay current on the news and prepare as much as possible in the face of a hurricane. For those who experience unfortunate damage to their home, call us at 855-352-2281 to bring life back to normal as soon as possible.

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.

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.

Tips for Protecting Your Business during a Hurricane

Hurricane ProtectionPeople in Florida are no strangers to stormy weather. Thunderstorms can be a daily occurrence and heavy rain and lightning do not really pose much of an inconvenience to Floridians. However, hurricane season often brings with it a touch of concern even for the most seasoned of storm veterans from early June to late November. During this period of potentially devastating storms, it is imperative to provide adequate protection and planning to preserve your business. Here are some tips to ensure that your business is protected during a hurricane.

Have an Official Emergency Plan

In order to effectively deal with any emergency, it is imperative that businesses have an official emergency plan that can be implemented quickly. In order to be implemented quickly, employees must be aware of it. Employee training is essential to a smooth execution of the emergency plan. If employees are unaware of a codified plan, the situation could become chaotic should an emergency arise. Effective communication prior to the hurricane can help prevent casualties as well as property damage.

Possible elements of an emergency plan could include:

  • An established evacuation route
  • An established “safety room” in the interior of ground floor
  • A protocol to dismiss employees given enough advanced warning
  • Obvious placement of first aid kits throughout the building
  • An emergency supply of food and clean water

Take Preventative Measures

In addition to an established emergency plan, other preventative measures may be taken to mitigate potentially costly damage to people and property. Preventative measures might include anything from protecting equipment to reducing flying debris.

The idea behind preventative measures is to minimize damage and reduce the time period between the disaster and the day when the business can resume normal operations. Reducing damage to electronics, protecting sensitive data, avoiding damage to the building, and protecting employees are all measures that strengthen the ability of a business to recover quickly from any natural disaster.

Other potential examples of preventative measures could be:

  • Trimming weaker tree branches that might break
  • Covering patches of rocks in gardens
  • Boarding windows
  • Turning off gas lines
  • Unplugging sensitive electronic equipment
  • Maintaining an up-to-date insurance policy

A Little Goes a Long Way

Natural disasters have been known to cripple underprepared companies due to property damage and an inability to conduct business. If these measures are followed both before and during a hurricane, the likelihood that the business will be able to resume normal operations immediately after is much higher.

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