Recent Storm Damage Posts

Managing Fallen Trees and Debris Post-Storm

1/9/2024 (Permalink)

Severe storms often leave behind a trail of fallen trees and debris, posing significant hazards and hindrances to recovery efforts. Proper handling of these aftermaths is crucial for safety and efficient restoration. We've compiled essential tips to help you effectively manage fallen trees and debris after storms.

Assessing the Damage

After a storm passes, conduct a thorough assessment of your property to identify fallen trees, branches, and debris. Prioritize safety and be cautious of downed power lines or unstable structures. Assess the extent of damage and determine the areas needing immediate attention.

Safety First

Ensure personal safety and the safety of others around you. Stay clear of fallen power lines, unstable trees, or damaged structures. If you're unsure about the safety of any area, contact professionals before proceeding with cleanup efforts.

Clearing Fallen Trees and Debris

Professional Assistance: For larger trees or debris that pose a risk, seek professional assistance. Trained professionals can safely remove trees, limbs, and heavy debris, preventing further damage and injury.

DIY Cleanup: If smaller debris is manageable, use caution and appropriate tools (like chainsaws, axes, and gloves) for cleanup. Avoid overexertion and be mindful of potential hazards while moving heavy objects.

Proper Disposal: Segregate debris into categories like organic waste, recyclables, and non-recyclables for appropriate disposal. Follow local regulations or guidelines for disposal methods.

Inspecting Property Damage:

Carefully inspect your property for any damage caused by fallen trees or debris. Check roofs, walls, windows, and other structural components for signs of damage. Document all damages thoroughly for insurance purposes.

Seeking Professional Restoration Services

Engage professional restoration services, like SERVPRO® of Bonita Springs/Estero, to assess and repair storm-related damage. Experienced professionals can address structural issues and water damage, and ensure comprehensive restoration, mitigating further problems.

Preventative Measures for Future Storms

Consider landscaping adjustments to mitigate tree-related risks. Regularly trim trees, remove weak branches, and monitor tree health to minimize the chances of storm-related damage.

Handling fallen trees and debris after storms requires caution, expertise, and proper planning. Prioritizing safety, seeking professional assistance, and assessing property damage are essential steps toward a swift and safe recovery. Our SERVPRO® team is dedicated to assisting communities in storm-related restoration efforts.

The Forces and Effects of Storm Surges in Bonita Springs

9/17/2023 (Permalink)

Deep puddle of water. Remember, storm surge preparedness is a vital aspect of coastal living.

Florida's picturesque coastal landscapes offer breathtaking views and a vibrant way of life. However, these idyllic settings can also be prone to the challenges posed by tropical storms and hurricanes. Among the significant threats to coastal properties is the phenomenon known as storm surge. In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the critical topic of storm surge, its impact on coastal properties in Florida, and essential strategies for safeguarding your home and loved ones.

What is Storm Surge?

Storm surge is the abnormal rise of water levels along the coastline during a storm, primarily driven by the strong winds and low atmospheric pressure associated with hurricanes and tropical storms. It's important to note that storm surge is different from tidal flooding, as it is a temporary and rapid increase in water levels that can lead to swift and severe inundation.

Understanding the Risks

Coastal properties in Florida are particularly vulnerable to storm surges due to their proximity to the ocean. Even a seemingly mild storm can result in significant surge-related damage. As sea levels rise due to climate change, the potential impact of storm surges becomes even more concerning.

Factors Affecting Storm Surge

Several factors influence the severity of storm surge, including the storm's intensity, size, and forward speed. The shape of the coastline and the depth of the ocean floor near the shore also play crucial roles. Understanding these factors can help homeowners anticipate the potential risk and take appropriate precautions.

Preparing for Storm Surge

Mitigating the impact of storm surges on your coastal property requires proactive planning and preparation:

  • Elevated Structures: Consider building or retrofitting your home to be elevated above the base flood elevation, reducing the risk of water intrusion.
  • Strong Foundations: Ensure your property has a strong foundation that can withstand the force of storm surge.
  • Flood Barriers and Sandbags: Deploy temporary flood barriers and sandbags to create a barrier against incoming water.
  • Secure Outdoor Items: Anchor or store outdoor furniture, equipment, and vehicles to prevent them from being swept away by rising waters.

Evacuation Plans

In extreme cases, local authorities may issue evacuation orders to ensure residents' safety. Familiarize yourself with local evacuation routes and have a plan in place for safely evacuating your property when needed.

Home Insurance and Coverage

Review your homeowner's insurance policy to understand your coverage for storm surge and flood damage. Standard homeowner's insurance often does not include flood coverage, so consider purchasing a separate flood insurance policy through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

Staying Informed

Stay updated on weather forecasts and storm surge predictions through reliable sources. Local news, official weather agencies, and mobile apps can provide real-time information to help you make informed decisions.

Living along Florida's stunning coastline offers an unmatched lifestyle, but it also comes with the responsibility of understanding and preparing for the risks posed by storm surges. By comprehending the nature of storm surges, recognizing the factors that influence their impact, and taking proactive steps to protect your coastal property, you can safeguard your investment and ensure the safety of your family. Remember, storm surge preparedness is a vital aspect of coastal living, and staying informed and well-prepared can make all the difference when the next storm approaches.

Preparing for Storms

2/10/2023 (Permalink)

missing roof shingles Preparing for a storm will reduce the risk of damage to your property.

Storms can be very destructive, and they can cause you to lose time and money. Prepare yourself for a storm by making sure your property is ready for the worst.

Secure loose Rain Gutters and Downpipes

It’s important to secure loose rain gutters and downpipes before a storm. They can become dangerous if they are not secured properly, as they can fall off and cause damage or injury. Make sure that your rain gutter is secured by checking that it has enough screws in place, and you may also want to check its connection with the fascia boards at the top of your house.

Move Vehicles Under Cover

Move vehicles, boats or trailers under cover to protect for wind and rain damage. Park on the highest point of your property or in a garage or car port if possible. This will protect it from floodwaters and falling trees, which are more likely to occur during high wind conditions.

Secure Outdoor Furniture

Winds can cause damage to outdoor belongings. Secure patio furniture and accessories to prevent damages to windows or doors. Make sure play equipment is well secured to the ground. Ensure items are not blocking drains or access to your house and car.

Stock up on Bottled Water and Nonperishable Foods

Stock up on bottled water and nonperishable foods such as canned goods and dried fruit. Keep a torch, battery-powered radio, spare batteries, candles and matches in an easy-to-reach place. If you don't have a battery-powered radio, wait until you can get one. You should also make sure that you have spare batteries and candles in case the power doesn't come back on immediately after the storm passes.

If the worst happens, however unlikely it may be, it's best to prepare for all potential outcomes as far ahead of time as possible.

Reduce the risk of Damage to your property

If a storm is approaching, it's important to prepare yourself, your home and your family. Using the elements as an opportunity to do some spring cleaning can also help you get ready for a storm. Preparing your car in advance of a potential emergency can make all the difference in getting out safely if one occurs.

If you’re prepared for a storm, you’ll be able to reduce the risk of damage to your property. This will also help you save time and money when it comes to dealing with any repairs that need to be made. If you want more information on how to prepare for a storm, check out this site. https://www.ready.gov/severe-weather

What To Do If You Do Not Have Flood Insurance

8/28/2022 (Permalink)

FEMA FEMA offers several kinds of grants

Water can quickly enter your Estero, FL, house during a major storm. Even if you do have homeowners' insurance, your policy likely does not include flood coverage. Luckily, those without flood insurance can still apply for a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Types of Grants

FEMA offers several kinds of grants. They can assist with:

  • Home repairs
  • Personal property losses
  • Funeral, dental or medical costs
  • Vehicle repair or replacement
  • Temporary housing
  • Rent

The home repair grant should help you pay for initial emergency restoration services that make your house safe, secure, habitable, and sanitary. However, the government will not cover the costs of returning your home to its pre-flood condition.

You will not have to repay the grant money that you spend. However, you must keep your receipts to prove that the money was used to repair your home. Any money that was not spent was spent on alternative purposes or cannot be documented via receipts will have to be returned to the government.

Eligibility Requirements

Anyone who lives in a county that has been designated a disaster area is eligible for a grant. Even if you have flood insurance, you can use the grant for excess expenses that insurance does not cover.

Renters and college students qualify for grants, as well. Applicants do not need to be under a certain income threshold, either. However, you or a member of your household must be a citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien.

Application Process

If you believe you are eligible for a grant, you can apply at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or call 800-462-7585. FEMA will then send a letter notifying you of its decision. Those who were denied eligibility can file an appeal in writing within 60 days of receiving the letter.

Depending on the flood plane of your local stream, even a relatively minor storm can cause large consequences for your property. That is why the government offers assistance to those without flood insurance.

How To Clean Up Sewage Backup in Your Bathtub

6/27/2022 (Permalink)

Bathtub back up If you have sewage in your bathtub call SERVPRO

How to Get Rid of Sewage in Your Bathtub

When you have a sewer backup inside your home, it's crucial to implement cleanup and repair procedures as soon as possible. Not only is sewage in your residence unsightly and unsanitary, but it can also damage your items and render certain household spaces — such as a bathroom or basement — unusable.

A bathtub backup can be particularly daunting to clean up. Here are three steps to cleaning and sanitizing the area in and around your tub.

1. Determine if your home's interior is safe to enter after a sewer backup

If the sewage is affecting electrical wires or otherwise flooding outside your tub or toilet in Estero, FL, you may need to call a professional storm damage cleanup and restoration company for an assessment or inspection right away. If this is the case, the company will do necessary checks and then inform you of next steps.

2. Remove items and waste from your bathtub and other areas
As soon as the cause of the backup is identified and resolved, work to remove sewage. Use a shovel and plastic bags to remove dirt and waste. Dispose of plastic bags right away. If damage is minimal, this is a process you may be able to complete on your own. If there is excess water that doesn't properly drain, a cleanup company may use a pump and wet/dry vacuums to remove moisture.

3. Disinfect affected surfaces and items
After removing sewage and moisture, use soapy, warm water to clean affected areas. Run clothing and other fabric items through the washing machine. Then, use a bleach solution to disinfect. For a small sewer backup, this should be sufficient. If you experience lingering odors or fear you are unable to reach impacted areas under tile or behind vanities, sewage cleanup professionals can help to identify problem spots and restore your home.

Dealing with sewage is never pleasant, but it's important to clean residential areas when backups happen.

How To Prevent Sewage Backup

6/17/2022 (Permalink)

Pouring grease down a drain Avoid putting grease down the drain

How Can Sewage Back-Up Be Avoided?

A sewer backup can cause damage to your home that requires professional remediation and restoration. If this has happened to you, you may know that it can also cause costly changes to your insurance premiums or coverage. Therefore, it's crucial to find ways to prevent future sewage problems. Fortunately, there are preventative measures you can take to prevent backups.

1. Have a Licensed Plumber Install an Overhead Sewer System

With an overhead sewer system, your basement is protected due to excess water being directed to an area beneath your floor called a sump. A sump pump then moves water to pipes overhead, which drain into your sewer line. In other words, water is directed away from the basement.

2. Get a Backwater Valve

Another option is to have a backwater valve installed. This mechanism prevents water backflow into your basement and must be installed by a licensed plumber, but it can result in less risk of flooding due to backups.

3. Keep Your Sewer System Clean To Prevent Another Backup

It's important to have a sewer cleaning done, especially if your pipes are prone to clogs or if you know of flushed items that could be creating a blockage. Snake your pipes every 18 to 24 months and keep them clear of tree and plant roots.

4. Address Storm Damage Promptly

If your home in Bonita Springs, FL, has recently sustained severe weather damage, you can also have a clean-up and restoration company identify issues within your system. Having any damage remediated and restored helps to ensure proper water flow in the event of another storm affecting your property.

Above all, exercise smart sewer practices to prevent a backup. Avoid putting grease down the drain, flush only toilet paper and human waste, and be sure to plant trees away from your pipes.

4 Ways to Prevent Mold Damage After Flooding

5/16/2022 (Permalink)

Mold. Aspergillus. The finger of the hand points to the black fungus on the white wall. Mold can begin to grow 24 to 48 hours after a flood, so acting quickly is critical.

4 Ways To Avoid Mold Damage After A Flood

When there are storms with heavy rains, or when snow melts after a long winter, flooding can occur. If you experience a flood, it is important to deal with the damage right away to prevent mold growth. Mold can begin to grow within 24 to 48 hours of a flood, so taking quick action is imperative.

1. Ventilate the Area

One of the first things to do is open doors and windows. Mold spores can hang around in the air, so this helps eliminate them.

2. Get Rid of the Standing Water and Dry Out Flooring

Moisture is a breeding ground for mold. If you have water buildup, this can harbor bacteria and other contaminants. Call flood cleanup specialists to pump out the water, dry out the affected items, clean up the mess and restore the damage. You can also put out fans and dehumidifiers to help speed up the drying process.

3. Decide What to Get Rid Of

Although you may be able to salvage some of the items impacted by the flood, you will probably have to throw some stuff away. Upholstered furniture, items made with wood, and anything made with porous material should be thrown if it was submerged under water. Damp rugs and carpets should also be thrown to avoid mold growth. Make sure you wear the proper gear to protect your mouth, eyes, skin and nose.

4. Clean Surfaces

If an item is made out of a non-porous material, such as plastic, metal or glass, you can keep them as long as you clean them. Use a mixture of water and detergent to thoroughly wipe down anything affected by flood waters.

If you have been affected by a flood in Estero, Florida, make sure you clean up the area immediately. Doing so will help prevent mold growth and further damage.

What Can You Expect With Storm Damage?

3/7/2022 (Permalink)

Flooded building entrance If you are having flooding issues and suspect storm or water damage, give SERVPRO a call on our 24-hour service line.

What Should You Expect When It Comes To Storm Damage?

The first time that you return to your Bonita Springs, FL, building after a storm or a flood can be devastating. At first, the destruction may seem impossible to recover, especially with flooding and water damage. The idea of a complete tear out of the building can be daunting. Yet storm restoration is not impossible, and by knowing what to expect, you can create an effective recovery plan.

1. Getting Rid of the Water

The first thing you need to do before anything else is water extraction. This means getting rid of any standing water or water that may have flooded in recessed areas. In some instances, this is just a matter of wiping and mopping up, but in others, you may need to open drainage pathways or even use vacuum suction to remove the majority of flood waters from the premises.

2. Removing Wet Materials

The next step in alleviating storm damage is a complete tear out of wet materials that cannot be adequately dried in place and may even lead to mold and mildew. This includes carpet, wallpaper, and sometimes even floor tile. These materials not only become waterlogged but can also trap water underneath them, making it impossible for the building to completely dry out.

In the instances of extremely bad flooding, you may need to remove waterlogged wood or drywall. Once water has soaked into the building’s structural materials, many times those materials cannot be recovered and must instead be knocked out and replaced.

3. Drying Out the Structure

After you finish your tear out and dispose of waterlogged materials, you need to dry out the building completely. The easy way to do this is to open the windows and wait, but you can also use fans and other devices to hasten the drying process. Any waterlogged areas should get the most attention, and as they dry, they should be tested for structural integrity. It may require professional storm restoration services to ensure the safety of the building.

Getting Ahead of Mold Damage After a Flood

3/5/2022 (Permalink)

a wall with mold growth after a flood Mold growth and lingering odors are just two of the issues you'll have to deal with after a flood. at SERVPRO, we help you solve it.

After A Flood, Preventing Mold Damage

Did you know that within 24 to 48 hours, mold can begin to grow in flood-affected areas? Mold growth happens disastrously quick when there is standing water, and even without mold, you have to worry about the proliferation of bacteria in standing water and gray water. To get ahead of mold damage, you need to have a reactive, responsive plan for restoring your commercial building in Estero, FL.

1. Move Fast

Don’t delay cleaning up after a flood. Particularly, don’t delay cleaning up any water. Mold growth is dependent on water, and without moisture, it will have nothing to feed on. Make water removal your first step in your cleanup plan, and initiate removal as soon as your property is safe to enter.

2. Be Aggressive

You may be tempted to try milder methods, wait, and then try something more aggressive. By that time, mold has already had a chance to set in and will be even harder to get rid of. Use the most effective methods first rather than trying for something softer. As long as you aren’t damaging the interiors of your property, you’re better off going in with stronger cleansers and cleaning equipment.

3. Be Thorough

Don’t leave a single corner untouched. Nooks and crevices are places where mold thrives, and where undetected moisture can make a perfect place for mold to begin growing out of the sunlight. Check every last crack to ensure you aren’t leaving any untouched hidden areas that may lead to problems.

4. Be Safe

No matter how worried you are about mold growth, be safe when handling your flood restoration and cleaning. If you don’t trust yourself to handle the equipment and chemicals needed to appropriately siphon away water and eliminate mold, contact professionals or enlist help from others. Always make sure to work in a well-ventilated place, wear protective gear, and avoid contact with hazardous substances, sharp edges, or exposed electrical wires.