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.

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.

Be Aware of Summertime Home Hazards

Summer Home HazardsThe summertime in Florida is an extreme season that brings with it a number of different potential hazards to your home. In addition to environmental hazards, certain activities that are common during the summer may also have the potential to cause damage to your home. As summer approaches, it is important to be aware of these hazards in order to take action to mitigate the risks.

Storms and Wind Damage

Thunderstorms, hurricanes, and tornados commonly occur throughout Florida during the summer months. Many summer days are characterized by an intense afternoon storm that does not last throughout the day, but that may come through with strong winds and cause damage. Winds may knock trees over and cause loose debris to collide with the home.

Cleaning up the yard and securing loose items can help to protect the home from damage. Ensuring sturdy construction of the home and surrounding structures can also be helpful. Hiring professionals to assess the stability of the roof, fencing, and other structures may prevent costly wind damage.

Rain and Flooding Dangers

The powerful storms that are common during the summer may bring heavy rains that can flood a yard and home very quickly. This is an even greater risk in areas that are close to the water. Taking action to ensure that water will drain away from the home can prevent damage to the foundation. Filling in low areas in the yard can help to keep the yard from flooding, possibly preventing damage to the lawn and landscaping.

Lightning Dangers

Lightning strikes more often in certain parts of Florida than most other places in the world. Lightning strikes can cause damage to home structures, electrical systems, and belongings. Lightning can also start fires in homes and yards, potentially burning the home, surrounding structures, and belongings. While it is difficult to protect the home from lightning damage, unplugging appliances when storms start can help to mitigate damage to belongings and possibly prevent a fire from starting.

Campfire and Grill Hazards

Grilling outdoors and starting campfires in the backyard are common activities that have the potential to become hazardous. It is important to keep fire extinguishers nearby when grilling or having a backyard campfire. Fires should never be left unattended and the area surrounding the pit or grill should be kept clear of debris and flammable materials. All fires should be completely extinguished after use to protect the home.

If a home suffers damage due to Florida summertime hazards, it is important to take steps to restore the home right away. If your home has been damaged, contact restoration services in your area to protect the home from further damage and to keep home inhabitants safe.

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.

Tornado Facts to Help You with Preparedness

Tornado PreparednessTornadoes are violent storms that can cause a lot of damage in a short amount of time. It may seem that tornadoes come out of the clear sky and cause unpredictable damage, but there are some signs and consistencies that can help you to be more prepared in the event of a tornado. There are also general safety precautions that can be taken so that your home and family are safer if a tornado strikes.

Every State Has Tornado Risks

Tornadoes are generally associated with the Midwest, so many homeowners on the East coast feel that tornadoes are not a concern. This false sense of security can be destructive if a tornado does occur. Tornadoes occur in response to increased sea surface temperature and increased moisture content, especially in cooler months. These correlations allow weather forecasters to predict tornadoes with some accuracy, although the path of the tornado may be difficult to predict.

Certain Signs Warn of a Tornado

Tornado warnings signs may vary, but can include:

  • Hail storms, especially with large hail
  • Low-laying clouds that are very dark
  • Dark skies, sometimes with a greenish cast
  • A loud roar
  • Debris and dust that appears to be suspended in the air

Seeking Shelter Is the Safest Option

Since the main danger of tornadoes comes from the high winds and the debris being moved by the high winds, seeking shelter is the safest way to avoid being injured. Stable rooms constructed with concrete, block, or brick are less likely to be breached by debris. It is important to avoid auditoriums, cafeterias, and other large rooms that have wide, flat roofs, however, as these may be moved by tornado winds. Basements and lower rooms provide the best shelter from the high winds.

Securing Your Home Can Reduce Damage

Taking the time to secure your home can greatly reduce the damage that occurs if a tornado does come through. Making sure that the roof is secured with hurricane clips and that the walls are secured to the foundation can mitigate damage. Moving large objects away from windows and storing heavy items and toxic chemicals in low and enclosed areas can reduce injury risks as well as home damage risks.

Having a Plan Can Increase Safety

Formulating an emergency preparedness plan can help to keep family members safe. Making sure that all family members know about local warning sirens and understand where to go in the case of a tornado can help to ensure safety. Having first aid supplies available and keeping important documents in water and fire proof storage containers can help to expedite recovery after a storm. Knowing who to call for restoration services can help to mitigate damage to the home caused by elements.

To find out how we can help you to be prepared for tornadoes, call us 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.

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