Recent Storm Damage Posts

How To Get Your Business Ready for a Disaster

9/22/2020 (Permalink)

Paper with words BCP Business Continuity Plan Continuity planning should be a big part of your business preparedness strategy

How To Develop an Emergency Strategy

Before the next major storm arrives in Philadelphia, PA, you need to develop a disaster preparedness plan. This will keep your employees safe and your business operational. Below are some tips for developing your emergency strategy.

1. Prepare for the Worst
Ideally, none of your employees will get injured during the storm. Yet accidents can happen. That is why you should keep first aid supplies readily available. You may also want to encourage employees to take CPR training.

2. Gather Supplies
Encourage your employees to keep a survival kit in their desks or offices. You should also store important contact information — including for the phone number for your local emergency restoration company — at a secure off-site location.

3. Work Together
You may not be the only company in your building that needs a disaster preparedness plan. It thus makes sense to work with the other tenants as you develop your strategy. Consider holding evacuation drills together. After all, if an emergency strikes, everyone will be leaving the property at the same time.
This coordination should go beyond just talking with other managers. You should also contact any shippers or suppliers you use and include them in your storm preparation. This will help keep your company running in the aftermath of the disaster.

4. Make a Continuity Plan
Indeed, continuity planning should be a big part of your business preparedness strategy. Start by identifying the operations that are the most important to your company's success. Next, choose a select group of employees from your company to come up with ways to keep those operations functioning. The individuals you pick should include managers, executives, and lower-level workers with technical skills.
Disaster preparedness is not always a fun topic. Yet it is necessary to create an emergency plan and discuss it with other employees. That way, once the storm does arrive, they will know exactly what to do.

Floodwater Cleanup Requires Extra Precautions

8/10/2020 (Permalink)

Background of blue water and on the middle a sign that says water categories There are three categories of water issues

When flooding happens in your Philadelphia, PA, home, any amount can be overwhelming and wreak havoc. Before diving into the cleanup process, it is vital to understand the type of water damage that you have experienced. Not all water is the same, nor is the cleanup process.

Water Categories

There are three categories of water issues:

Clean Water – It is toxin- and sewage-free. This type of mess often comes from a broken pipe, water supply line, overflowing sink or bathtub, or an appliance malfunction. It can be cleaned in a normal way without much worry unless it has sat too long. If that happens, it can become the next type of damage.

Grey Water – Often caused by toilet tank issues, washing machines, dishwashers, or sump pump backups, it may have some chemicals or contaminants. While not considered overly harmful, some care should be taken to ensure the affected area and items are thoroughly disinfected.

Black Water – If the source of the problem is flood damage, the water you are facing potentially has harmful contaminants, microorganisms, and debris from sewage, groundwater and nearby rivers or creeks.

Cleanup
If you have experienced flooding, don’t rush into to start the cleanup process. The contaminants in black water require extensive safety precautions and tools. Many items may not be salvageable or will require the professional cleaning services of a flood and stormwater restoration specialist. A simple wipe down and sanitizing doesn’t do the trick. Category 3 damage often requires:

  • Personal protective equipment, including boots, gloves, goggles, and a facemask.
  • Proper containment of the area during drying and water extraction.
  • Removal of contaminated items, some of which may have to be disposed of.
  • Replacement of organic materials, such as drywall and ceiling tiles.

Dealing with flooding is a trying time and may require expert help to ensure your home is a safe environment. At the first signs of water troubles, get help from professionals that are Faster to Any Size Disaster.

Tips To Keep Your Sump Pump Running Smoothly

5/2/2020 (Permalink)

A sump pump installed in a basement of a home with a water powered backup system. Give your sump pump a little tender loving care so that it works when you need it most

During the average week, you probably don’t give your sump pump much thought. When a heavy rainstorm hits in Philadelphia, PA, however, it’s one of the first things you worry about. Since it is critical that your pump works when you need it, it’s a good idea to conduct some routine pump maintenance to keep it in tip-top condition.

How a Sump Works

The sump pump has a few main components that work together to pump water out of your home.

The groundwater collection system works by collecting the outside water through drain tiles and rocks placed under the soil along the house’s foundation. As the groundwater collects, it flows down through pipes to the basement and into the sump tank through an intake screen.
The sump tank is an appliance that is installed inside a specially-made pit placed in the lowest area of the basement. When water reaches a certain level in the tank, a float device will activate a pump.
The pump then forces the water out through a discharge pipe to the outlet drain outside, away from the house. When the water has been drained to a certain level in the tank, this triggers the device to shut off the pump.

What To Inspect
Since the sump mechanism can sit for a few weeks or even months without being activated, it should be inspected periodically. Every 2 or 3 months you should check to make sure the power cord is connected properly. Then dump a bucket of water into the tank to ensure the float device and pump do their job correctly.
At least once a year, you should conduct in-depth maintenance on the unit. Remove any debris from the discharge pipe and intake screen to prevent clogs. Also, clean out the pit area to ensure the unit will function properly. If applicable, replace the backup battery every 2 years.
Give your sump pump a little tender loving care so that it works when you need it most.

What To Know About Storm Insurance and Your Business

4/13/2020 (Permalink)

a young man in suit in his office showing an insurance policy and pointing with a pen where the policyholder must to sign Having storm insurance for your business in Philadelphia, PA is one great way to protect the property

Things To Be Aware Of When Looking Over Your Coverage

When you have a business in Philadelphia, PA, having a storm insurance policy is one great way to help protect the property. When looking over your coverage there are a few things to be aware of.

1. What Terms Mean

It’s important to understand what the different terms used in your coverage mean. This will allow you to know what type of deductible you have if it’s a set amount or a percentage amount, what coverage is included in your plan, and what responsibilities you have as the property owner. Understanding your plan, and the terms used, will help you determine if everything you want coverage for is included, or if you will need any supplemental plans.

2. What May Be Covered

In many cases, storm insurance will cover the costs of repairing parts of the property harmed by storm damage. This may include heavy rain and wind damage, and can also include flood and hail depending on the policy. Your policy may also include the costs of hiring a preferred storm damage restoration service to help with cleanup and repairs. It’s important to know what is included in your policy beforehand to avoid any surprises.

3. What May Not Be Covered

It’s important to know which items may not be in your insurance coverage as you may want to purchase a supplemental plan for these items. In many cases, severe flooding may require additional protection as well as hail. You may also find that in the event the property was not properly protected from the elements some coverage doesn’t apply. Be sure to talk to your agent to ensure you know what steps you may be responsible for as the building owner.

When looking over the storm insurance policy for your business it’s important to be aware of a few things. Make sure you understand the terms used and how they affect your policy. It’s also important to know what is and is not included in your coverage and what you may want to get supplemental insurance for. If you have any questions your agent should be able to help.

Any snow for March?

3/4/2020 (Permalink)

For the 2019-2020 Winter season, it has been a rather mild one comparing from years past.  Our region always likes to prepare for the worst; as we have definitely seen the worst.  Such as the snow storms from 1996 with a total of 65.5", and in 2010 with a whopping total of 78.7"!  This season we have only seen 0.3", the second least snowfall since 1972-1973.  

We looked back at an article posted from November of 2019 on local meterologists' winter predictions to see how they have come to fruition.  Cecily Tynan from 6ABC News, and Glenn "Hurricane" Schwartz from NBC10 seemed to have had different predictions in their presentation. 

Schwartz bases his prediction off the solar cycles, which in pattern when they were at the lowest, we saw the blizzards of 1996 and 2010.  This year was also a low point, but we have yet to see a major blizzard.  Tynan's prediction mentions the jet stream with a high ridge across the country.  Towards the end of the stream for the Philadelphia region, she has a model of it just missing us so that we will receive warmer weather.  The other model shows how it just included us to receive colder weather.

By the looks of the forecast as of today, we are looking at warm temperatures up until the week of the first day of Spring.  However, we did receive snow of the first day of Spring back in years past, so it could be a toss up!

Source: https://www.phillymag.com/news/2019/11/22/cecily-tynan-hurricane-schwartz-winter-forecast/

What It Takes To Clean After a Storm

11/14/2019 (Permalink)

A technician wearing protective equipment and bagging up debris Technician cleaning up after storm damage in Philadelphia, PA

Cleaning Requirements That Often Appear On a Flood Cleanup Checklist

When a storm in Philadelphia, PA, floods your home, you may not know where to start the cleanup process. The good news is that flood restoration experts can assess your property and put together a list of tasks that must be completed during mitigation. Here are some common cleaning requirements that often appear on a flood cleanup checklist.

Water and Debris Removal

The first hurdle in the flood clean process is getting the damaging elements out of your home. Experts may use several tools to do this:

  • Industrial pumps
  • Trash pumps
  • Truck mounts

Once technicians have taken out everything that contributes to the damage, they can get a better idea of what needs to be trashed and what can be repaired.

Item Assessment

Because floodwater from a storm is probably highly contaminated, everything it touches must be cleaned or tossed. The cleaning requirements differ for every item in your home. Items that can be submerged in water should be boiled and left to air dry in a clean location. Other items may require strong disinfectants to clean the surfaces. The experts you hire may even be able to salvage your electronics or documents with gamma radiation or freeze-drying techniques.

Structural Cleaning

Once all items have been removed for cleaning or disposal, technicians can start on the structure of the house itself. Part of your walls may have to be removed if they were touched by the contaminated water, as the drywall is likely to have been saturated with bacteria. A flood disinfectant can be used on harder, less porous surfaces. Everything in your home must be cleaned before you can safely inhabit the space again.
The cleaning requirements for your home after a flood may be extensive, but they are necessary to fully restore your house. Restoration experts can give you an itemized checklist of everything that must be done to make your home livable again.

The Power of Damaging Winds

10/27/2019 (Permalink)

Tree uprooted from the ground, laying on the front yard and sidewalk of a homeowner's house. Uprooted tree from high winds

What are damaging winds? 

Damaging winds are often called “straight-line” winds to differentiate the damage they cause from tornado damage.  Strong thunderstorm winds can come from a number of different processes.  Most thunderstorm winds that cause damage at the ground are a result of outflow generated by a thunderstorm downdraft.  Damaging winds are classified as those exceeding 50-60 mph.

Straight-line wind is a term used to define any thunderstorm wind that is not associated with rotation, and is used mainly to differentiate from tornadic winds.

downdraft is a small-scale column of air that rapidly sinks toward the ground.

macroburst is an outward burst of strong winds at or near the surface with horizontal dimensions larger than 4 km (2.5 mi) and occurs when a strong downdraft reaches the surface. To visualize this process, imagine the way water comes out of a faucet and hits the bottom of a sink. The column of water is the downdraft and the outward spray at the bottom of the sink is the macroburst. Macroburst winds may begin over a smaller area and then spread out over a wider area, sometimes producing damage similar to a tornado. Although usually associated with thunderstorms, macrobursts can occur with showers too weak to produce thunder.

Source: www.nssl.noaa.gov

3 Major Tips to Cleaning Your Gutters This Fall

9/24/2019 (Permalink)

Clogged roof gutter full of leaves and debris from trees. Clogged roof gutter full of leaves and debris from trees.

Gutters are great for directing water away from your home, but they also can accumulate leaves and other debris clogging them, making gutter cleaning inevitable. When the debris builds up, it can trap water in the gutter causing it to rust or break away.  It can also lead to ice damming which may force you to replace the gutters which costs money.

1. Start with a thorough gutter cleaning. 

The most effective gutter cleaning procedure is truthfully the only way to truly clean them: by climbing up a ladder and pull out the debris.

2. Trim your trees to reduce gutter debris.

Much of the debris found inside a gutter is composed of decaying leaves, twigs and pine needles that fall from overhanging trees. 

3. Invest in gutter guards. 

Some cover part of the roof itself and the gutter with a solid surface, allowing water to run into the gutter underneath them but blocking falling and blowing objects from clogging them up.

Others are installed directly over the gutter and have strategically placed holes that allow water to pass through.

Other types of gutter guards are simply mesh screens built to keep debris and animals like nesting birds out of the structure. Some are hinged to allow you to easily access the gutter for a thorough cleaning when needed.

Source: Eagle Building Solutions

Thunderstorm Preparation

7/22/2019 (Permalink)

Triple lightening strike hits 3 Center City skyscrapers. source: nbcphiladelphia.com

Knowing when a thunderstorm is on its way is very key when protecting your home from any damage.  There are a few things to look out for whether it be from water damage or fire damage, or structural damage.  Most people know to batten down the hatches on your patio or deck when we see windy, stormy weather coming, so here are some tips to check off when going around the house.  

  • Unplug appliances and electronic equipment when not in use.
  • Remove dead or overhanging tree branches that could fall on your house if the tree is struck by lightning.
  • Avoid taking a bath or shower, or running water for any other purpose. Metal pipes and plumbing can conduct electricity if struck by lightning.
  • Turn off the air conditioner. Power surges from lightning can overload the compressor, resulting in a costly repair job.
  • Draw blinds and shades over windows. If windows break due to objects blown by the wind or large hail, the shades will help prevent glass from shattering into your home.
  • Flood proof your home by making the foundation water tight with concrete.  

Completing these tasks will help save you costly expenses if storm damage hits the South Philadelphia area.  Call us at 215-243-0430 if you ever need our services!

Hurricane Preparedness Week

5/9/2019 (Permalink)

For the week of May 5th to May 11th, it is National Hurricane Preparedness Week.  Hurricanes cause serious damage to homes, businesses, and families.  During this time, it is considered to go over these steps provided by The National Weather Service.

  1. Determine your risk: Hurricanes are not just a coastal problem. Their impacts can be felt hundreds of miles inland, and significant impacts can occur without it being a major hurricane.
  2. Develop a Evacuation Plan: Find out if you live in a storm surge hurricane evacuation zone or if you’re in a home that would be unsafe during a hurricane. If you are, figure out where you’d go and how you’d get there if told to evacuate.
  3. Assemble Disaster Supplies: Pack enough food, water, and medicine for at least three days worth per family member.  Extra cash, battery powered radio, and portable phone chargers.
  4. Get an Insurance Checkup: Call your insurance company or agent and ask for an insurance check-up to make sure you have enough homeowners insurance to repair or even replace your home. Don’t forget coverage for your car or boat.
  5. Strengthen your home:  Have the proper plywood, steel or aluminum panels to board up the windows and doors. Remember, the garage door is the most vulnerable part of the home, so it must be able to withstand the winds.
  6. Help your neighbor: Help them with gathering supplies before the storm, and if needed, help them evacuate.
  7. Complete a written plan:  Writing down your plan will help you avoid mistakes when faced with an emergency and ensure everyone in your home is prepared for the next storm.

Source: https://www.weather.gov/wrn/hurricane-preparedness

Preparing Your Home For a Hailstorm

4/11/2019 (Permalink)

Hailstorms causing severe damage.

While we always hear about gigantic hail pummeling places like Oklahoma and Kansas, most of the hail that falls around the world is small.  About 3,000 hailstorms occur annually across the United States, and while these storms are not as severe as tornadoes or floods, hail can cost homeowners large sums in property damage.  

Prevention and Preparation

  • Trim trees regularly
  • Repair roof damage
  • Close drapes 
  • Store large outdoor furniture and accessories in enclosed space

Assessment After The Storm

  • Take photos of the damage
  • Notify insurance agent immediately
  • Keep receipts when making repairs for proof of purchase

Hailstorms can cause serious damage when the conditions are right and your home's not protected. Follow these steps to prepare your home for a storm and to reduce damage costs.

Source: Direct Energy 

Big thunderstorms to rumble in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York

4/9/2019 (Permalink)

The same storm poised to bring a fresh round of snow to northern New England will help trigger a few heavy, gusty thunderstorms in part of the mid-Atlantic states into Tuesday evening.

The storms will be capable of producing strong wind gusts, perhaps topping 50 mph in some cases from eastern Pennsylvania to eastern New York state and portions of New Jersey, Delaware and northern Maryland.

Winds this strong can break tree limbs, cause sporadic power outages and send trash cans flying through the neighborhood.

As is the case with any thunderstorm, there is the risk of a lightning strike without notice.

Be sure to move indoors at the first sign of an approaching storm or rumble of thunder. If you can hear thunder, you are at risk for being struck if out in the open. Trees are not a safe place to seek shelter during thunderstorms.

Cooler air will sweep eastward in the wake of the storm Tuesday night.

Credit: accuweather.com 

Structural Damage from Natural Disasters

3/29/2019 (Permalink)

Structural damage is any type of damage that affects the core integrity of your home, especially your roof and load-bearing walls. Load-bearing walls carry the majority of your home’s weight. Without these walls, your home would collapse. Leaning windows and door frames are also common signs of a structurally weakened home.

High winds are the typical culprit when it comes to this type of damage, but strong floods have also been known to cause structural damage.  Doors and windows that don’t open like they once did are strong signs of structural damage. A shifted door frame can indicate a shift in the overall structure.

Other Things to Look For:

  • Cracks in wood structures
  • Hard to open doors and windows
  • Damaged wires, pipes, and gas lines
  • Wet insulation
  • Wet electrical circuits
  • Rust seeping out of cracks
  • Cracks in foundation

If you've had structural damage from a natural disaster, go through this checklist and have those items fixed before the damage worsens.

References: Water Damage Advisor.  https://www.waterdamageadvisor.com/water-damage/structural-damage/

How To Prepare for Natural Disasters

3/26/2019 (Permalink)

The best way to prepare for a natural disaster is to have a plan in place for each type of disaster that is likely to occur in your area.  For your basic emergency kit, keep these things in mind when putting it together. 

Pack enough food and water for each person in the household per day.  Have an updated first aid kit, cell phone chargers, important documents, and have cash on hand.  If the power goes out, it may become difficult to access online banking or ATM's.  

Pet's need an emergency kit too!  Pack their food and water, important documents, medicine, vaccine information they may have.  Having a crate for your pet would be helpful in case you are relocated to a hotel or shelter.  Keep a photo of you and your pet if at any time you are separated from them.

When hurricanes and flooding are planning to come to your town, keep your gas tank full if you are evacuating from your home.  If you start to have water in your home, turn off your power at the breaker box to prevent damage and electrocution.  Stay out of the flood water as much as possible and move to higher ground.

Winter storms are also something to plan for each year.  70% of winter deaths are related to automobile accidents in the snow and ice.  During the storm, stay inside as much as possible and make sure you eat regularly and stay hydrated.  In case of power loss, ensure that you have alternative heat sources and that these are in good working order. 

If you have had a disaster strike your home, call SERVPRO of South Philadelphia to help! 215-243-0430

When a Tree Falls on Your Home

3/20/2019 (Permalink)

Fallen Tree on House

Snow storms, rain storms, wind storms – they make the news, can disrupt our lives, and occasionally knock down trees.  These devastating storms and natural disasters can leave you reeling and at a loss of how to begin recovery.  We ask that you be as safe as possible while dealing with damaged and fallen trees.

Safety first is the main priority.  If the area has foot or road traffic, rope off or block off the area to limit the risk of someone getting injured by the hazardous tree. 

Check the power lines to see if they're involved.  If they are, it is advised to turn off anything connected to those lines, and unplug any expensive electronics.  

Call your insurance company as soon as possible so they can agree to cover any emergency costs, removal or other details covered in your homeowner’s policy.